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Cambridge expertise at heart of new £11m UK chip innovation centre





The University of Cambridge is a partner in the new £11m Innovation and Knowledge Centre (IKC) REWIRE, set to deliver pioneering semiconductor technologies and new electronic devices.

Co-created and delivered with industry, the REWIRE IKC is led by the University of Bristol, in partnership with Cambridge and Warwick universities.

Teng Long, professor of power electronics at the University of Cambridge's Department of Engineering. Picture: University of Cambridge
Teng Long, professor of power electronics at the University of Cambridge's Department of Engineering. Picture: University of Cambridge

The IKC will accelerate the UK’s ambition for net zero by transforming the next generation of high-voltage electronic devices using wide/ultra-wide bandgap (WBG/UWBG) compound semiconductors.

Compound semiconductor WBG/UWBG devices have been recognised in the UK National Semiconductor Strategy as key elements to support the net zero economy through the development of high voltage and low energy-loss power electronic technology.

They are essential building blocks for developing all-electric trains, ships and heavy goods electric vehicles, better charging infrastructure, renewable energy and high-voltage direct current grid connections, as well as intelligent power distribution and energy supplies to telecommunication networks and data centres.

Professor Rachel Oliver, director of the Cambridge Centre for Gallium Nitride. Picture: University of Cambridge
Professor Rachel Oliver, director of the Cambridge Centre for Gallium Nitride. Picture: University of Cambridge

The project is being led by Professor Martin Kuball and his team at the University of Bristol. Cambridge members of the IKC team include Professors Rachel Oliver, director of the Cambridge Centre for Gallium Nitride; Florin Udrea, professor of semiconductor engineering at Cambridge University’s Department of Engineering; and Teng Long, professor of power electronics at the university’s Department of Engineering.

The centre will advance the next generation of semiconductor power device technologies and enhance the security of the UK’s semiconductor supply chain.

“The REWIRE IKC will focus on power conversion of wind energy, electric vehicles, smart grids, high-temperature applications, device and packaging, and improving the efficiency of semiconductor device manufacture.” said Prof Kuball.

Dr. Giorgia Longobardi, founder and CEO, Cambridge GaN Devices, which is a REWIRE industry partner
Dr. Giorgia Longobardi, founder and CEO, Cambridge GaN Devices, which is a REWIRE industry partner

“Newly emerging ultra-wide bandgap materials have properties which enable them to handle very large voltages more easily,” said Prof Oliver. “The devices based on these materials will waste less energy and be smaller, lighter and cheaper.”

Minister for tech and the digital economy, Saqib Bhatti, said: “This investment marks a crucial step in advancing our ambitions for the semiconductor industry.”

Industry partners in the REWIRE IKC include BMW, Bosch, Cambridge GaN Devices, Hitachi Energy, Siemens and Toshiba.

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