7 July 2023
North American GaN device makers confirm continuity of gallium sourcing despite China’s export restrictions
North America-based producer of gallium nitride (GaN) power devices have responded to China’s imposition of export restrictions on gallium and germanium with statements affirming their continuity of supply.
On 3 July, China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) and General Administration of Customs (GAC) announced that export control measures on gallium- and germanium-related semiconductor raw materials would be put in place from 1 August. GaN wafer materials are listed as being affected by these regulations.
Transphorm Inc of Goleta, near Santa Barbara, CA, USA — which designs and makes GaN field-effect transistors (FETs) for high-voltage power conversion — confirmed that its primary trimethylgallium (TMGa) suppliers are not based in China and that they are well positioned to meet forecasted demand, so it is securely positioned to continue manufacturing and supplying GaN devices without interruption.
The firm also notes that gallium is generally a byproduct resulting from refinement processes used to produce common metals such as aluminium from bauxite ore, and that aluminium is produced in numerous countries including Australia, Brazil, India, Jamaica, and the USA.
Transphorm says that it will continue to the monitor the situation as necessary but sees no direct impact on its current operations. Nor does it see long-term sourcing issues.
Navitas Semiconductor of Torrance, CA, USA has confirmed continued supply of its GaN power ICs. The firm notes that its GaN-on-silicon wafer subcontract manufacturer has verified that their production remains unaffected by the export restrictions, given the multiple sources of gallium worldwide. It hence does not expect customer deliveries to be impacted or its business to be adversely affected by the export restrictions. Navitas notes that it not use germanium in any product.
GaN Systems Inc of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (a fabless developer of GaN-based power switching semiconductors for power conversion and control applications) has confirmed with its GaN-on-silicon wafer supplier that the announced export restrictions on gallium and germanium raw materials will not directly impact wafer production, given that there are multiple sources of gallium worldwide. The firm hence does not see any major impact on material supplies that would disrupt its ability to supply its GaN power products to customers.