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Sofradir and ULIS to invest €150M in French Nano 2022 program

21 Jan 2019

Five-year investment to develop next-generation infrared detectors; part of EU initiative to strengthen microelectronics.

Sofradir and its subsidiary ULIS have today announced their participation in the Nano 2022 initiative, which will see the Group invest €150 million ($171 million) over the period 2018-2022.

Sofradir and its subsidiaries ULIS and Sofradir-EC design and manufacture imaging technologies for aerospace, defense and commercial markets; ULIS develops IR components that thermal camera manufacturers can integrate into diverse products.

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

Nano 2022 is France’s initiative within the cross-border program that will support developments in nanotechnology, including applications such as smart sensors. The Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes region, where Sofradir and ULIS have operations, announced it will contribute €35M ($40M) to support Nano 2022.

'Next gen' IR detectors

Sofradir and ULIS, the infrared technologies of which are used in a range of applications from space observation and environmental monitoring to security surveillance and predictive maintenance, will invest €150 million in the Nano 2022 initiative in order to develop next-generation infrared detectors.

Jean-François Delepau, chairman and CEO of Sofradir and ULIS, commented, “Infrared technologies can offer the necessary solutions for improving assisted living, mobility, energy efficiency, security and environmental monitoring. As a result of our investment, equipment manufacturers will benefit from the ease-of-use and performance these new products will offer.”

ULIS believes that the Nano 2022 initiative will enable it to develop the next generations of infrared detectors to address trends in autonomous systems for smart buildings (workspace management, energy savings), road safety and in-cabin comfort of vehicles.

It also enables 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. The company stated, “Nano 2022 contributes to the funding of the pilot lines required for developing these technologies and products.”

Sofradir and ULIS are participating in Nano 2022 alongside other companies based in the Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes region, including ST Microelectronics (Geneva, Switzerland) and Soitec, (Chemin des Franques, France).

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

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