APEI, Frequent U of A Research Collaborator, Acquired by Cree
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – A research development firm that frequently collaborates with faculty at the University of Arkansas on new technologies has been sold to the top-selling LED light manufacturer in the United States.
Cree Inc. announced on July 9 that it had acquired Arkansas Power Electronics International Inc. (APEI), the largest company at the Arkansas Research and Technology Park. APEI will be renamed Cree Fayetteville Inc. and will continue to be based at the research park.
“This acquisition represents the culmination of years of dedicated research and development by APEI,” said Phillip Stafford, president of the University of Arkansas Technology Development Foundation. “It also serves notice that world-class technologies are being commercialized through public-private partnerships such as those developed by University of Arkansas researchers and APEI.”
APEI specializes in advanced, high-performance electronics for a variety of customers and applications, including the defense, aerospace and hybrid/electric vehicle markets. It specializes in silicon carbide semiconductors, multichip power modules, high-temperature packaging for electronic components and high-temperature circuits.
The majority of APEI’s approximately 50 employees are U of A graduates, including Alex Lostetter, president and CEO of APEI, who holds a doctorate in microelectronics-photonics from the university.
“Joining forces with the market leader in silicon-carbide power gives us an opportunity to commercialize our products faster,” Lostetter said. “This ideal combination of chip technology and packaging will give us first-mover advantage, helping us to set the industry standard for power modules.”
Collaborations between APEI and U of A researchers have been included in R&D Magazine’s annual list of the world’s top 100 technological product innovations.
In 2014, the magazine based its R&D 100 award on APEI’s high-performance, silicon carbide-based plug-in hybrid electric vehicle battery charger. The U.S. Department of Energy-funded research partnership includes several entities, including Cree and the National Center for Reliable Electric Power Transmission, an academic research center based at the U of A.
In 2009, APEI received its first R&D 100 award for a high-temperature silicon carbide power module that was developed through a collaboration between APEI, U of A researchers and Rohm Co. Ltd. The module can greatly reduce the size and volume of power electronic systems.
“Adding this expert team of innovators and portfolio of patents will enable us to further disrupt and expand the market,” said Frank Plastina, executive vice president for Cree’s power and radio frequency division.
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