25 January 2022
IVWorks acquires Saint-Gobain’s GaN wafer business
IVWorks Co Ltd of Daejeon, South Korea – which was founded in 2011 and manufactures 100-200mm gallium nitride (GaN) epitaxial wafers for RF & power electronics applications – has acquired the GaN wafer business of France-based materials maker Saint-Gobain, which designs, manufactures and distributes materials and services for the construction and industrial markets.
GaN epiwafers are used in manufacturing power devices for high-speed chargers, electric vehicle (EV) power conversion, and defense radars. Silicon carbide (SiC) or silicon substrates are used to stack III-N films depending on the application field, but GaN wafers are required for high-power devices such as EV powertrains, says IVWorks.
The firm comments that Saint-Gobain in France and some Japanese material companies (such as Sumitomo and Mitsubishi) are leading in GaN wafer production technology. With the acquisition of the GaN wafer business from Saint-Gobain, IVWorks reckons that it has acquired state-of-the-art technology for the mass production of 4-inch and 6-inch diameter GaN wafers.
IVWorks says it is the sole South Korean enterprise specializing in semiconductor materials that has mass-produced GaN epiwafers of 4-, 6- and 8-inch diameters. The firm also claims in-house development of the first epiwafer production technology integrated with an artificial intelligence (AI) production system. The start-up has also recently installed a 12-inch production facility for the first time in South Korea.
Picture: IVWorks’ 12-inch GaN epiwafer production MBE equipment.
“The use of GaN power devices is increasing significantly in all electronic products due to their advantages in terms of energy efficiency, and interest in GaN is high in the EV applications, a new market area,” notes IVWorks’ CEO Young-Kyun Noh. “Based on this acquisition, we will be able to expand our product portfolio by supplying GaN-on-GaN epiwafers in high-power application fields and compete with SiC materials in the EV market,” he reckons.