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24 September 2018

STMicroelectronics and Leti to co-develop GaN-on-Si diode and transistor architectures for power conversion applications

© Semiconductor Today Magazine / Juno PublishiPicture: Disco’s DAL7440 KABRA laser saw.

STMicroelectronics of Geneva, Switzerland and micro/nanotechnology R&D center CEA-Leti of Grenoble, France are cooperating to develop and industrialize gallium nitride-on-silicon (GaN-on-Si) technologies for power switching devices, whch will enable ST to address high-efficiency, high-power applications, including automotive on-board chargers for hybrid and electric vehicles (HEVs/EVs), wireless charging, and servers.

The collaboration focuses on developing and qualifying power GaN-on-Si diode and transistor architectures on 200mm wafers, a market that research firm IHS Markit forecasts will rise at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 20% from 2019 to 2024.

In the framework of Grenoble-based Technological Research Institute Nanoelec (IRT Nanoelec) - an R&D consortium headed by CEA-Leti focused on information and communication technologies (ICT) using micro- and nanoelectronics - ST and Leti are co-developing the process technology on Leti’s 200mm R&D line and expect to have validated engineering samples in 2019. In parallel, ST will set up a fully qualified manufacturing line, including GaN/Si hetero-epitaxy, for initial production running in ST’s front-end wafer fab in Tours, France, by 2020.

In addition, given the attractiveness of GaN-on-Si technology for power applications, Leti and ST are assessing advanced techniques to improve device packaging for the assembly of high-power-density power modules.

“Recognizing the incredible value of wide-bandgap semiconductors, ST’s contributions in power GaN-on-Si manufacturing and packaging technologies with CEA-Leti move to arm us with the industry’s most complete portfolio of GaN and SiC products and capabilities, on top of our proven competence to manufacture high-quality, reliable products in volume,” says Marco Monti, president of STMicroelectronics’ Automotive and Discrete Group.

“Leveraging Leti’s 200mm generic platform, Leti’s team is fully committed to supporting ST’s strategic GaN-on-Si power-electronics roadmap and is ready to transfer the technology onto ST’s dedicated GaN-on-Si manufacturing line in Tours,” says Leti’s CEO Emmanuel Sabonnadiere. “This co-development, involving teams from both sides, leverages the IRT Nanoelec framework program to broaden the required expertise and innovate from the start at device and system levels,” he adds.

In February, ST also announced another development of GaN-on-Si for RF applications with MACOM Technology Solutions Holdings Inc of Lowell, MA, USA (which makes semiconductors, components and subassemblies for RF, microwave, millimeter-wave and lightwave applications), for MACOM’s use across a broad range of RF applications and for ST’s own use in non-telecom markets. The RF GaN-on-Si is – for now, at least – better suited to 150mm wafers. Because they produce low switching losses, GaN technologies suit higher-frequency applications.

See related items:

MACOM and ST to develop GaN-on-Si manufacturing for mainstream RF applications

Tags: Leti STMicroelectronics GaN-on-Si

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