The North East Advanced Material Electronics (NEAME) cluster group has been lauchend formally today, the 27th of July, with the goal to promote the region as a centre of excellence for advanced compound semiconductor technology design and manufacture. International factors mean all companies in the sector face significant supply chain challenges. The group, which is led by Chief Executives and other senior decision-makers will act as a single voice to raise the profile of the region’s competencies and address the main challenges and opportunities for advanced material electronics.
“The North East of England is a powerhouse for innovation and quality in advanced material electronics. At Pragmatic we have demonstrated our commitment with our investment in PragmatIC Park, we believe this represents the future of UK semiconductor manufacturing,” said Ken Williamson, Pragmatic Chief Operating Officer.
Electronic components based on compound semiconductor technology – materials like gallium nitride – can outperform silicon devices in speed, size and energy efficiency, powering transformational applications including electric and autonomous vehicles, satellite and 5G/6G communications, energy decarbonisation, IoT (Internet of Things) sensors and computer imaging technologies.
The sector makes a significant contribution to the regional economy and is projected to contribute £447m Gross Value Added by 2026, with the potential to create and support around 4,500 jobs.
Within a 25-mile radius of Sedgefield, there are several high-technology companies whose names may not yet be widely recognised. For example, Kromek – the world’s largest cadmium zinc telluride (CZT) facility – is based at NETPark, where it is developing and manufacturing radiation detection devices. Filtronic, which like Kromek is a recent winner of a Queens Award for Enterprise – International Trade, designs and manufactures state-of-the-art high-frequency electronic modules that connect telecommunications systems in space and for terrestrial 5G mobile networks.
In addition there is PragmatIC, which last year raised $90m in its Series C funding round and is the first large-scale semiconductor manufacturing facility to be announced in the UK for several decades and will house the very first state-of-the-art 300mm fab in the country. Equally Evince Technology is developing an innovative process to manufacture electronic devices on synthetic-diamond substrates, that promises to revolutionise electronics.