29 October 2010


LAST POWER project targets strategic independence for Europe in wide-bandgap semiconductors

The partners in a new publicly funded European research consortium have announced details of the multinational/multidisciplinary program ‘LAST POWER’ (Large Area silicon carbide Substrates and heTeroepitaxial GaN for POWER device applications).

The aim of the 42-month ENIAC (European Nanoelectronics Initiative Advisory Council) project is to provide Europe with strategic independence in wide-bandgap (WBG) semiconductors. This field is of strategic importance as it involves the development of highly energy-efficient systems for all applications that need power, from telecoms to automotive, from consumer electronics to electrical household appliances, and from industrial applications to home automation.

The consortium aims to develop European technology for the complete production chain for semiconductor devices built with both silicon carbide (SiC) and heteroepitaxial gallium nitride on silicon wafers (GaN-on-Si), which both offer higher speed, current capability, breakdown voltage and thermal capability compared with conventional silicon technologies.

“The power semiconductor market, which represents approximately 30% of the overall semiconductor market, is set to change significantly in response to the ever-increasing demand for more energy-efficient devices,” says project coordinator Salvatore Coffa, group VP and R&D general manager, Industrial and Multisegment Sector, at STMicroelectronics. “This key project, which targets secure strategic independence in the emerging field of SiC and GaN technologies, will place Europe at the forefront of energy-efficient devices,” he reckons.

The project’s overall objective is to develop cost-effective and reliable integration of SiC and GaN semiconductors in the European power microelectronics industry, via five specific objectives:

  • growth of large-area (150mm) SiC and high-quality heteroepitaxial GaN on 150mm Si wafers, beyond the current state-of-the-art for substrates, epitaxy and surface preparation;
  • development of new dedicated equipment for material growth, characterization and processing;
  • processing reliable and efficient SiC and GaN devices on 150mm wafers;
  • demonstration of high-performance devices with properties that cannot be obtained on silicon, including a 1200V/100A SiC MOSFET, SiC JFET capable of operating up to 250ºC, and GaN HEMT devices for power switching; and
  • developing advanced packages for high-temperatures devices, as well as improving device reliability.

The partners in the LAST POWER consortium are:

  • STMicroelectronics S.r.l. (Italy)
  • LPE S.p.A. (Italy)
  • Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Istituto per la Microelettronica e Microsistemi (Italy)
  • Epitaxial Technology Center S.r.l. (Italy)
  • Foundation for Research & Technology-Hellas (Greece)
  • NOVASiC S.A. (France)
  • Consorzio Catania Ricerche (Italy)
  • Institute of High Pressure Physics UNIPRESS  (Poland)
  • Universita della Calabria (Italy)
  • SiCrystal AG (Germany)
  • SEPS Technologies AB (Sweden)
  • SenSiC AB  (Sweden)
  • Acreo AB  (Sweden)
  • Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece).

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