13 July 2010


IMEC’s GaN-on-Si research program adds Micron, Applied and Ultratech

At this week’s Semicon West event in San Francisco, CA, USA, nanoelectronics research center IMEC of Leuven, Belgium has announced that Micron Technology, Applied Materials and Ultratech have joined its imec industrial affiliation program (IIAP) on GaN-on-Si (gallium nitride on silicon) technology.

Launched in July 2009, the multi-partner R&D program focuses on the development of GaN-on-Si process and equipment technologies for manufacturing solid-state lighting (e.g. LEDs) and next-generation power electronics components on 8-inch silicon wafers, aiming to reduce the cost and improve the performance of GaN devices.

IMEC says that gallium nitride is a promising material for optoelectronics and advanced power electronic components (offering higher breakdown voltage and current capacity than incumbent silicon technology). But, to make GaN-based devices a competitive alternative to silicon devices, GaN manufacturing technology needs to achieve the same economies of scale. Existing LED manufacturing processes are typically performed on costly 4-inch sapphire substrates. By depositing GaN on 8-inch silicon, the productivity of GaN-based device manufacturing can be raised significantly, reckons IMEC. In addition, the GaN-on-Si program is using an Applied Materials mainframe to develop 8-inch GaN-on-Si technology that is compatible with CMOS fab infrastructure, which can further enhance productivity and lower device cost.

The program brings together integrated device manufacturers (IDMs), foundries, compound semiconductor companies, equipment suppliers and substrate suppliers to develop 8-inch GaN technology. The IIAP builds on IMEC’s track record in GaN epi-layer growth, new device concepts and CMOS device integration.

Micron Technology, Applied Materials, and Ultratech will actively participate in the IIAP at IMEC. Such on-site participation will enable the partner firms to have early access to next-generation LED and power electronics processes, equipment and technologies, says IMEC.

“Less than a year after the program’s launch in July 2009, we have assembled a strong consortium, including IDMs and equipment suppliers, and we expect more companies to join in the near future,” says Rudi Cartuyvels, VP & general manager Process Technology at IMEC. “This collaboration reflects the value of IMEC’s research on GaN-on-Si as a reliable cost-effective solution for next-generation LED and power electronics devices.”

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