Mark Telford (Email)
Cell:+44 (0)7963 085 605
Semiconductor Today Magazine


3 July 2006


sp3 wins Phase II SBIR for 100mm GaN-on-diamond development

sp3 Diamond Technologies Inc of Santa Clara, USA, a supplier of wafer-scale diamond and diamond products for thermal management challenges in high-performance applications, has received a $750,000 Phase II SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) contract from the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) to develop GaN on silicon-on-diamond (SOD). The project will result in the delivery of GaN-on-SOD devices suitable for radar transmit/receive modules, as well as a documented process for producing GaN-on-SOD substrates and initial
reliability data.

In Phase I of the project, sp3 delivered 100mm SOD wafers with a GaN top surface, as well as extensive modeling that demonstrated the performance advantages obtainable in a HEMT device built on a thermal layer of diamond (showing junction temperature reduction of 80K combined with a 37% boost in output power).

"The development of GaN devices on our SOD substrate is a significant next step in our overall development of Diamond-On-Silicon (DOS)," said Dwain Aidala, president and chief operating officer. "We have now demonstrated
that our DOS platform is appropriate for other active circuit devices, as well as MEMS applications."

Two important applications of the technology are being pursued by collaborating companies:

Nitronex Corp of Raleigh, NC, USA, which develops GaN-on-silicon technology for commercial and broadband wireless markets, is working with sp3 on the fabrication of GaN material on the SOD substrate. Nitronex will now build
active high-power devices as part of Phase II. "The ability to integrate a diamond thermal layer into our GaN-on-silicon strategy is of great interest to Nitronex," stated Kevin Linthicum, co-founder and CTO. "The fact that sp3 is offering us a known silicon interface on 100mm wafers provides an easy migration to future productization and a pathway to scale to 150mm GaN wafers when the markets require."

TriQuint Semiconductor of Hillsboro, OR, USA will also be modeling the technology for their high-frequency MMIC development. "With the push by the military for tripling device power and adding 50% greater efficiencies, materials such as sp3's GaN-on-SOD have a high probability of being the substrate solution of the future," stated Tom Cordner, vice president, TriQuint Texas. "We will work closely with the material to move it toward products as soon as possible."

sp3 supplies DOS wafers of 50-300mm in diameter for developments in active device thermal management, MEMS structures and sensor applications. The technology can also be used to develop GaN-based laser and LED products.
With a thermal conductivity that is 10 times better than silicon and 2-3 times better than silicon carbide, diamond films can provide a path for integrated thermal management in many applications that are becoming
performance limited by thermal issues, claims sp3.

Visit sp3: http://www.sp3inc.com

Visit Nitronex: http://www.nitronex.com

Visit TriQuint: http://www.triquint.com