Following my retirement, we have closed our company for new business.

Please do not hesitate to contact me directly, our email portal remains open and I would be delighted to hear from you and provide ongoing support or advice.

Richard Thomson

Companies represented up to the end of December 2023. Please now contact them directly.

k-Space Associates, Inc.
Phone: +1 (734) 426-7977

Phone: +49 8761 76 24 0

Thursday 31 May 2012

Split electrons

An electron has been observed to split into two separate parts each carrying a specific property of the electron: a spinon carrying its spin and an orbiton carrying its orbital momentum. The electron's break-up into two new particles has been gleaned from measurements on the copper-oxide compound Sr2CuO3. Using X-rays, scientists from Paul Scherrer Institute (Switzerland) and the IFW Dresden (Germany) excited some of the electrons belonging to the copper atoms into orbitals of higher energy/velocity. After this stimulation with X-rays, the electrons split into two parts, the spinon and the orbiton. In the experiment, X-rays from the Swiss Light Source are fired at the compound By comparing the energy and momentum of the X-rays before and after the collision with the material, the properties of the newly produced particles can be traced.

Monday 28 May 2012


Courtesy of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee we now have graphene the semiconductor, or more correctly graphene monoxide (GMO). The potential is to use this material with graphene (a conductor) and graphene oxide (an insulator) to cover all the electrical characteristics needed in a device. But perhaps boron nanotubes and borene are the next new things?

Thursday 24 May 2012

Whose sonic screwdriver?

I still think that Dr Who has the edge for overall usefulness, but a group at the University of Dundee have come up with their version of a sonic screwdriver. The team used an array to form an ultrasound beam that can both carry momentum to push away an object in its path and, by using a beam shaped like a helix or vortex, cause objects to rotate. The Sonic Screwdriver can be viewed rotating a rubber disc.

Tuesday 22 May 2012

A look into the future

Two new reports from the technology analysts Yole Developpement are interesting. One covers III-V Epitaxy Equipment and the other GaAs Wafer Market & Applications. The former notes the huge MOCVD epitaxy growth sales in 2010/11 driven by the demand for LEDs for backlit LCD TVs and general lighting. This was coupled with significant sector subsidies in China via local and central government. There is now an overcapacity situation that could take 12-18 months to absorb. Yole Developpement consider that the next investment cycle, driven by lighting applications, will start in 2013. This will be more limited than the previous cycle due to improvements in equipment throughput and yields. Following this cycle, further cost of ownership improvements offered by the next generation of MOCVD reactors will justify the replacement of reactors installed during the 2010-2011 boom and drive a small equipment cycle in the second half of the decade. By then they predict that applications related to power devices using GaN will give a substantial upside for reactor makers. After recovering strongly from 2009 with growth of 22% in 2010, the GaAs substrate market slowed sharply in 2011, rising just 4% to nearly $360m, due to weak demand in RF circuits (handsets and WLANs) and in optoelectronics (LEDs and laser diodes) according to Yole's report on GaAs Wafer Market & Applications. The wafer market is expected to recover in 2012, driven by the sheer volume of the handset market and consolidation of the LED industry. The GaAs substrate market should increase at a compound annual growth rate of nearly 11% to more than $650m by 2017, fuelled primarily by: rising GaAs content in handsets; and rising penetration of LEDs in general lighting and automotive applications.

Tuesday 15 May 2012

Cheaper PV chips?

Reducing the cost of solar-grade silicon is seen as important for increasing the worldwide use of photovoltaics and reducing our dependency on fossil fuels. A new process under development at the University of Cambridge has the potential to drive down the cost of manufacturing solar-grade silicon. Based on the electrochemical FFC process the group has devised a two stage method that uses calcium chloride in the reduction of sand to make high purity silicon. They believe that the process will drive down the cost of manufacturing solar-grade silicon from around the current $40–200/kg to a maximum of $8/kg,

Wednesday 9 May 2012

Better out than in

Single junction GaAs solar cells with conversion efficiencies above 28% have been reported. Perhaps counter-intuitively, these new designs specifically allow photons to be emitted. The group claims that by letting the internally generated luminescence photons to efficiently exit the device rather than be reabsorbed, increases the voltage created and thus the cell efficiency. Full results will be presented at CLEO 2012.

Thursday 3 May 2012


A recent update from Trend Micro has reviewed the latest cybercriminal and malware offerings. These included the LuckyCat campaign aimed at accessing Mac computers via a flaw in MS Word and the hijacking of a part of a legitimate social networking website to dupe users into downloading malware by clicking on a realistic looking Starbucks logo for a gift. In addition, cybercriminals are increasingly capitalizing on the growth of Android users who use their smartphones to gain internet access. In the first three months of 2012 Trend Micro identified approximately 5,000 new malicious Android apps. In the same period the top countries for sending spam were: India (20 percent), Indonesia (13 percent), South Korea (12 percent), and Russia (10 percent).