Sofradir invests €150m to advance infrared sensors

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Sofradir and its subsidiary Ulis are investing €150 million in the French initiative Nano 2022 to develop the next generation of infrared detectors.

Nano 2022 is France’s initiative to support developments in nanotechnology; it will help fund new microelectronics pilot lines.

STMicroelectronics and Soitec are involved in the project, along with other companies based in the Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes region, where Sofradir and Ulis have operations. The Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes region is contributing €35 million to the programme.

Ulis plans to use the Nano 2022 pilot lines to develop the next generations of infrared detectors to address trends in autonomous systems for smart buildings – workspace management and energy saving – road safety, and in-cabin comfort of vehicles.

The pilot lines will also enable Sofradir to develop the very large dimension infrared detectors needed for space and astronomy observations, as well as compact and light sensors that can be used in portable devices and on drones.

‘Infrared technologies can offer the necessary solutions for improving assisted living, mobility, energy efficiency, security, and environmental monitoring, which are all crucial societal needs,’ said Jean-François Delepau, chairman and CEO of Sofradir and Ulis. ‘As a result of our investment, equipment manufacturers will benefit from the ease-of-use and performance these new products will offer.’

This announcement follows the European Commission’s approval on 18 December 2018 of the ‘Important Project of Common European Interest’ (IPCEI), a joint project by France, Germany, Italy and the UK to give €1.75 billion in public support for research and innovation in microelectronics.

The IPCEI framework develops key cross-border R&D and infrastructure projects aimed at encouraging member states to channel their public spending into large projects. These make a clear contribution to economic growth, job creation and the competitiveness of Europe.

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