25 March 2021
SweGaN brings QuanFINE GaN-on-SiC epi to ESA project Kassiopeia
Epitaxial wafer foundry SweGaN AB of Linköping, Sweden is partnering with Ferdinand-Braun-Institut, Leibniz-Institut für Höchstfrequenztechnik (FBH) of Berlin, Germany and University of Bristol in the project Kassiopeia, which is funded under the European Space Agency (ESA) ARTES Advanced Technology Program ‘European Ka-band high power solid-state technology for active antennas’ and includes a focus on SweGaN’s QuanFINE gallium nitride on silicon carbide (GaN-on-SiC) epitaxial materials to help boost device efficiency for Ka-band applications.
The technology will be highly relevant for devices used in beam-steering antennas for satellite communications, 5G base stations as well as radar applications.
With the aim of continuously advancing space technology, the cooperation combines key European expertise to enable high-efficiency and high-performance Ka-band GaN monolithic microwave integrated circuits (MMICs). Led and coordinated by FBH, the Kassopeia project is developing and demonstrating Ka-band MMICs using novel epitaxy, processing and circuit concepts towards highly efficient GaN and AlN devices. Kassiopeia’s goal is to harness leading technology to create a unique European offering, from the SiC substrates to GaN epi, to power amplifiers.
SweGaN is contributing its unique QuanFINE buffer-free solution for GaN-on-SiC epiwafers, bringing its expertise in epitaxial layer design and optimization to the project. The firm will also supply in-house-developed semi-insulating SiC substrates for evaluation. These activities are financially supported by Swedish National Space Agency (Rymdstyrelsen).
The epiwafer specialist currently provides epitaxial material to manufacturers of components and devices for satellite communication, telecom and defense applications, as well as power electronic for electric vehicles, solar inverters and more.
“Harnessing our combined expertise, the strategic development project will further enhance SweGaN’s long-term market strategy and product innovation - and provide significant benefits to our global customer base,” reckons chief technology officer Dr Jr-Tai Chen.
“We are excited to collaborate with SweGaN and FBH to understand, optimize and exploit the improved thermal management potential of the buffer free GaN-on-SiC for transistor applications, and to apply our unique expertise in assessing thermal transport in semiconductor devices” comments professor Martin Kuball, Royal Academy of Engineering Chair in Emerging Technologies at the University of Bristol.
Bringing together key European expertise, the selected consortium partners provide expert knowledge of their specific technology and characterization techniques:
- FBH’s unique contribution is its iridium sputter-gate technology, which reduces dynamic losses (gate lagging) to values up to two times less than competing institutional and industrial technologies. The technology provides advantages in device reliability that are particularly important for space-borne devices.
- SweGaN is recognized for providing GaN epiwafers for sub-6GHz and millimeter-wave transistors with a significantly low thermal boundary resistance and limited trapping effects – based on its proprietary buffer-free approach.
- The University of Bristol’s research specializes in direct thermal measurements on active GaN transistors by using micro-Raman thermography and advanced devices characterizations and modeling.