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RFMD, DoE’s National Renewable Energy Lab Collaborate

July 2, 2009

RF Micro Devices and NREL announce a cooperative agreement to commercialize high-performance photovoltaic cells.

GREENSBORO, NC (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- RF Micro Devices, Inc. (Nasdaq:RFMD), a global leader in the design and manufacture of high-performance semiconductor components, announced it has 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 photovoltaic (PV) cells.

Under the terms of a Cooperative Research And Development Agreement (CRADA), NREL's subject matter knowledge and innovation experience will be combined with RFMD's technical expertise in volume manufacturing of high-performance, reliability-proven compound semiconductors at RFMD's wafer fabrication facilities (fab), for the purpose of developing a production capable process technology for high-performance photovoltaic (PV) cells. NREL has decades of research experience and expertise in PV cell technology, and RFMD is a pioneer and industry leader in compound semiconductor manufacturing with a proven ability to commercialize new technologies.

The successful execution of the multi-year CRADA is expected to result in the production of PV cells in RFMD's high-volume compound semiconductor fabs, as early as calendar year 2012, using technology that is 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%, and continued substantial improvements in efficiency are anticipated.

"Working with RFMD to commercialize PV cells will help us realize our laboratory's mission of developing and commercializing advanced, next-generation energy technologies," said NREL Director Dan Arvizu.

Bob Bruggeworth, president and CEO of RFMD, said, "We are very pleased to be collaborating with NREL to leverage our wafer manufacturing expertise and cost structure to manufacture high-performance photovoltaic cells available in high volumes, with high quality and reliability and at greatly reduced cost. RFMD's industry-leading wafer fabrication capability and expertise in commercializing compound semiconductors, combined with NREL's technology leadership and decades of research, uniquely position us to accelerate the commercialization of this next-generation technology. We expect our expertise and scale will positively impact the market for concentrated photovoltaic cells, and we are proud to support our national efforts related to clean energy."

During the CRADA, technical representatives from both RFMD and NREL will collaborate at NREL and in RFMD's facilities in Greensboro, NC. The CRADA will be accomplished in three phases.

  • A foundation phase that will establish the capability to manufacture basic PV cells at RFMD's manufacturing facilities;


  • A technology demonstration phase during which PV cells using NREL's technology will be fabricated at RFMD's manufacturing facilities, and;


  • A production readiness phase during which the manufacturing of high performance PV cells with high yields, high reliability, high reproducibility and low cost at RFMD's fabs will be established.

About NREL
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, LLC.

About RFMD
RF Micro Devices, Inc. (Nasdaq:RFMD) is a global leader in the design and manufacture of high-performance semiconductor components. 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, NC, 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.

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