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5 October 2012

ON Semiconductor joins imec’s GaN-on-Si research program

ON Semiconductor of Phoenix, AZ, USA, which supplies silicon-based power and signal management, logic, discrete and custom devices for energy-efficient electronics, has joined the multi-partner, industrial R&D program at nanoelectronics research center Imec of Leuven, Belgium to collaborate on the development of next-generation gallium nitride on silicon (GaN-on-Si) power devices.

Since GaN is characterized by superior electron mobility, higher breakdown voltage and good thermal conductivity properties, it suits power and radio frequency (RF) devices that need high switching efficiencies, notes Imec. However, currently GaN-based power devices are too expensive for large-volume manufacturing, as they are fabricated on small-diameter wafers using non-standard production processes.

Imec’s broad-scale research program is focused on developing GaN-on-Si technology on 200mm wafers, as well as reducing the cost and improving the performance of GaN devices. By bringing together leading integrated device manufacturers (IDMs), foundries, compound semiconductor companies, equipment suppliers and substrate suppliers, Imec claims to have achieved significant technical advancements.

Last year, Imec’s research program produced 200mm GaN-on-Si wafers, bringing processing within reach for standard high-productivity 200mm fabs. Moreover, it developed a fabrication process compatible with standard CMOS processes and tools (the second prerequisite for cost-effective processing).

“As a top 20 global semiconductor supplier with a portfolio focused on energy-efficient devices, ON Semiconductor has been researching GaN-on-silicon technologies for several years and is presently building a GaN processing line in its Oudenaarde facility in Belgium,” says Hans Stork, senior VP & chief technology officer at ON Semiconductor. “Partnering with Imec will help strengthen our current market position and potentially assist us in adding a competitive leading-edge technology to our customer offerings,” he adds. 

“Extraordinary developments continue to emerge from our GaN-on-Si Affiliation Program, creating further inroads to drive down production costs,” says Rudi Cartuyvels, VP of smart systems and energy technology at Imec. “The newest addition, of ON Semiconductor as a strategic program partner, further advances our collective expertise,” he adds. “Leveraging joint efforts will help us overcome the next hurdle toward economical volume manufacturing, ultimately bringing GaN power devices to the market.”

Tags: Imec GaN-on-Si



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