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
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Doug DeLieto, VP, Investor Relations