Scottish optoelectronics specialist Intense Photonics has bought its own cleanroom, picking up the facility in Hamilton that DuPont Photomasks decided to close two months ago.
The move by Intense to buy its own manufacturing operation comes a week after securing first-round funding of £7.75m from 3i and ACT Capital Partners.
Jim Ashe, vice president of sales and marketing for Intense said the company will put its own equipment into the 360sq m class-1 cleanroom at Hamilton. The facility was used by DuPont to make masks for local semiconductor fabs, and did not operate as a complete foundry.
"There is some relevant equipment already there, such as wet-etch equipment," he said.
Intense aims to operate the Hamilton plant as an R&D laboratory initially to help hone the process for the quantum-well intermixing (QWI) technology used in its optoelectronic devices. The R&D line should be ready by September. Later, the fab will later be turned over to production.
Ashe said the company will keep Compound Semiconductor Technologies, which currently performs more generic process steps, as a supplier.
"All the QWI work today is done by us," said Ashe. He said the plant buy "helps us to get up and running very quickly. We will put a substantial amount of capital equipment in there, which will help us enhance process development."
He said the company is hoping to recruit 30 people in the next couple of months, with plans to expand the total workforce from 22 today to 80 by the end of the year.
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