31 March 2022
Odyssey demos 700V vertical GaN power FETs; targets 1200V next
Odyssey Semiconductor Technologies Inc of Ithaca, NY, USA, which is developing high-voltage power switching components based on proprietary gallium nitride (GaN) processing technology, says that it has reached a technology milestone in its development of vertical GaN power field-effect transistors (FETs).
Global sustainability trends require new technologies and approaches for power conversion in electric vehicles, solar and wind turbines, data centers and industrial motors, notes the firm. The trend to depart from traditional silicon-based transistors has been underway for over a decade, as silicon can no longer meet the voltage and conversion efficiency demanded, it adds.
Gallium nitride, deployed as lateral (or parallel) conduction FETs, provides efficiency improvements but fails to provide the voltage rating required, Odyssey says. Silicon carbide (SiC) provides the voltage rating but falls short on efficiency.
Odyssey was founded to commercialize vertical GaN FETs, which can provide the conversion efficiency of GaN with the higher voltage rating of SiC.
Odyssey has now validated its approach at a 700V rating while also providing what is claimed to be industry-leading efficiency with low on-resistance approaching 1mΩ-cm2. These devices also exhibit very low gate leakage and can be operated in a mode where they are normally off. Technology validation can begin on these 700V devices while an extension of the same architecture to the next milestone of a 1200V rating or better is completed.
Odyssey is developing the technology in its own 10,000ft2 manufacturing facility (which has a mix of class 1000 and class 10,000 cleanroom space). The firm says that, as the US needs to strengthen domestic semiconductor manufacturing, it is showing its commitment with its own wafer fabrication plant. This also streamlines the technology and product development processes, with close collaboration between R&D and the fab, it adds.
Aso, on 15 February the US Patent and Trademark Office issued US patent 11,251,295 (‘Vertical field effect transistor device and method of fabrication’) with respect to key aspects of Odyssey’s vertical GaN technology, relating to a method of fabricating a high-voltage switching device using GaN layers and materials. Odyssey now has two issued US patents, and has filed many other related claims for the vertical GaN device and related technology.
“This 700V milestone validates our industry-leading efficiency and remarkably low on-resistance. Odyssey is on-track to deliver 1200V vertical GaN FETs in 2022 for a handful of customers who have already requested engineering samples,” says Rick Brown, co-founder, interim CEO, chief technology officer & board member. “Our patent is one of many that will help protect Odyssey’s key aspects on our GaN devices,” he adds. “Our goal is to fully protect our GaN devices using both patent rights and trade secrets.”