RF Micro Devices® Press Release - March 15, 2010
RFMD Achieves Milestone in Commercialization
of High-Performance Photovoltaic Cells
GREENSBORO, N.C., Mar 15, 2010
(GlobeNewswire via COMTEX News Network) -- RF Micro Devices, Inc. (Nasdaq:RFMD), a global leader in the design and
manufacture of high-performance radio frequency components and compound semiconductor technologies, today
announced it has successfully manufactured the industry's first photovoltaic cell using high-volume six-inch
gallium arsenide (GaAs) machinery. The photovoltaic (PV) cell was manufactured in RFMD's existing high-volume,
six-inch GaAs wafer fabrication facilities in Greensboro, NC, with no fabrication equipment modifications. This
achievement represents the first in a series of milestone achievements anticipated by RFMD related to the
commercialization of high-performance multijunction PV cells.
RFMD is a pioneer in compound semiconductor
manufacturing with a proven ability to commercialize new technologies. On July 1, 2009, RFMD announced it had
entered into a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory
(NREL) to develop a commercially viable and high volume-capable compound semiconductor-based process for
high-performance multijunction PV cells.
NREL Director Dan Arvizu said, "NREL's collaboration with RFMD
demonstrates our commitment to developing the best technologies for renewable energy and aligning with the most
capable partners to commercialize and deploy each technology. We applaud RFMD's successful achievement of this
first technical performance milestone."
Bob Bruggeworth, president and CEO of RFMD, said, "By combining
NREL's technology leadership and decades of research with RFMD's industry-leading cost structure and technical
expertise in commercializing high-performance, reliability-proven compound semiconductors, we are accelerating the
commercialization of a next-generation process technology that promises the solar industry's lowest cost,
highest-performance PV cells."
Alfonso Velosa, Research Director, Semiconductors, Gartner, said, "The
semiconductor industry continues to demonstrate its ability to innovate and produce lower cost products that
enable nascent industries to emerge. Semiconductor firms have the potential to change the dynamics in the
concentrated PV market, since they may be able to produce low cost, high efficiency solar cells on their existing,
depreciated equipment and robust manufacturing processes. Within a few years the concentrated PV market may be
able to deliver large volumes of renewable electricity, based in part on obtaining large volumes of high quality
-- yet low cost -- solar cells, from 'bankable' manufacturers."
RFMD achieved this PV cell milestone in
the Foundation Phase of the agreement, during which the capability to manufacture basic PV cells at RFMD's
manufacturing facilities is being established. After the Foundation Phase, a Technology Demonstration Phase will
begin, during which PV cells leveraging NREL's IP and technology will be fabricated at RFMD's manufacturing
facilities. The final phase of the agreement is the Production Readiness Phase, during which RFMD's high-volume,
six-inch fabs will demonstrate high-performance PV cells with high yields, high reliability, high reproducibility
and low cost.
The successful execution of RFMD's multi-year agreement with NREL is expected to result in the
high-volume production of PV cells in RFMD's fabs as early as calendar year 2012, using technology capable of
best-in-class solar cell conversion efficiency. NREL's technology has demonstrated one of the world's highest
reported solar cell conversion efficiencies, at 40.8 percent, and continued substantial improvements in efficiency
NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy's primary national laboratory for renewable energy
and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for DOE by the Alliance for Sustainable Energy,
RF Micro Devices, Inc. (Nasdaq:RFMD) is a global leader in the design and manufacture of
high-performance radio frequency components and compound semiconductor technologies. RFMD's products enable
worldwide mobility, provide enhanced connectivity and support advanced functionality in the cellular handset,
wireless infrastructure, wireless local area network (WLAN), CATV/broadband and aerospace and defense markets.
RFMD is recognized for its diverse portfolio of semiconductor technologies and RF systems expertise and is a
preferred supplier to the world's leading mobile device, customer premises and communications equipment providers.
Headquartered in Greensboro, N.C., RFMD is an ISO 9001- and ISO 14001-certified manufacturer with worldwide
engineering, design, sales and service facilities. RFMD is traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the
symbol RFMD. For more information, please visit RFMD's web site at
This press release includes "forward-looking
statements" within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of
1995. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements about our plans, objectives,
representations and contentions and are not historical facts and typically are identified by use of terms such as
"may," "will," "should," "could," "expect," "plan," "anticipate," "believe," "estimate," "predict," "potential,"
"continue" and similar words, although some forward-looking statements are expressed differently. You should be
aware that the forward-looking statements included herein represent management's current judgment and
expectations, but our actual results, events and performance could differ materially from those expressed or
implied by forward-looking statements. We do not intend to update any of these forward-looking statements or
publicly announce the results of any revisions to these forward-looking statements, other than as is required
under the federal securities laws. RF Micro Devices' business is subject to numerous risks and uncertainties,
including risks associated with the impact of global macroeconomic and credit conditions on our business and the
business of our suppliers and customers, variability in operating results, the rate of growth and development of
wireless markets, risks associated with the reduced investment in our wireless systems business, our ability to
execute on our plans to consolidate or relocate manufacturing operations, our reliance on inclusion in third party
reference designs for a portion of our revenue, our ability to manage channel partner and customer relationships,
risks associated with the operation of our wafer fabrication facilities, molecular beam epitaxy facility, assembly
facility and test and tape and reel facilities, our ability to complete acquisitions and integrate acquired
companies, including the risk that we may not realize expected synergies from our business combinations, our
ability to attract and retain skilled personnel and develop leaders, variability in production yields, raw
material costs and availability, our ability to reduce costs and improve margins in response to declining average
selling prices, our ability to bring new products to market, our ability to adjust production capacity in a timely
fashion in response to changes in demand for our products, dependence on a limited number of customers, dependence
on gallium arsenide (GaAs) for the majority of our products, and dependence on third parties. These and other
risks and uncertainties, which are described in more detail in RF Micro Devices' most recent Annual Report on Form
10-K and other reports and statements filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, could cause actual
results and developments to be materially different from those expressed or implied by any of these
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RF Micro Devices, Inc.
Doug DeLieto, VP, Investor Relations