20 January 2011

Dow Corning joins IMEC GaN Affiliation Program

Dow Corning Corp of Midland, MI, USA has agreed to enter the IMEC multi-partner industrial R&D program on gallium nitride (GaN) semiconductor materials and device technologies, which was formed in July 2009 and focuses on developing next-generation GaN power devices and LEDs. The collaboration between Dow Corning and the IMEC research center in Leuven, Belgium will concentrate on bringing GaN epitaxial technology on silicon wafers to a manufacturing scale.

Due to the combination of superior electron mobility, higher breakdown voltage and good thermal conductivity properties, GaN/AlGaN heterostructures offer high switching efficiency for next-generation power and RF devices compared with existing devices based on silicon (Si). A process for obtaining high-quality GaN epi-layers on Si substrates is therefore key to obtaining superior power & RF devices.

Picture: GaN-on-Si wafer processed at IMEC with Au-free MOSHEMT flow.

Accurate control of the epi growth process to master substrate bow, epi-layer defects and uniformity while maintaining high epi reactor throughput are needed to reduce overall cost. IMEC has pioneered epitaxial growth of GaN on sapphire, silicon carbide (SiC) and silicon substrates from 2- to 6-inch in size and is currently focusing on developing GaN epi-layers on 8-inch Si substrates. Leveraging economies of scale and compatibility with high-throughput and high-capacity process technology based on 8-inch silicon wafers should further reduce the cost of GaN devices and LEDs.

As a producer of SiC wafers and epitaxy, Dow Corning says that it is leveraging its capabilities in electronic materials to bring next-generation materials technology to global device manufacturers. “By joining the IMEC GaN Affiliation Program, Dow Corning will rapidly expand its substrate product portfolio with high-quality and affordable GaN epi-wafers for power, RF and LED markets,” says Tom Zoes, global director, Dow Corning Compound Semiconductor Solutions (DCCSS).

Dow Corning is also the majority shareholder in the Hemlock Semiconductor joint venture (with Shin-Etsu Handotai and Mitsubishi Materials Corp), which provides polycrystalline silicon and other silicon-based products.

“Teaming up with IMEC’s epitaxy and device researchers within our multi-partner environment creates a strong momentum to bring this technology to market,” comments Rudi Cartuyvels, VP Process Technology at IMEC, about Dow Corning joining its GaN Affiliation Program.

See related items:

IMEC launches industrial affiliation program on GaN-on-Si technology

Tags: Dow Corning IMEC GaN Affiliation Program GaN

Visit: www.dowcorning.com/content/compsemi

Visit: www.imec.be

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