Leuven, Belgium, and Cardiff, UK. imec has announced a strategic partnership on GaN-on-Si (gallium nitride-on-silicon) technology with IQE, the global leader in designing and manufacturing advanced semiconductor wafer products and services.
GaN technology offers faster switching power devices with higher breakdown voltage and lower on-resistance than silicon, making it an ideal material for advanced power electronic components. The partnership builds on promising results achieved in a recent project, in which imec and IQE collaborated to fabricate GaN power diodes using imec’s proprietary diode architecture and IQE’s high voltage epiwafers.
IQE enters imec’s GaN-on-Si Industrial Affiliation Program that offers joint research and development on GaN-on-Si 200-mm epitaxy and enhancement mode device technology to a variety of companies including IDMs, equipment and material suppliers, fabless design houses, and packaging companies. The program includes research on novel substrates to improve the quality of epitaxial layers, new isolation modules to enhance integration levels, and advanced vertical device development. As a GaN-on-Si Program partner, IQE gains access to next-generation epitaxy, devices, and power electronics processes, including imec’s complete 200-mm CMOS-compatible GaN process line.
Wayne Johnson, Head of IQE’s Power Business Unit, said, “We are delighted to have the opportunity to extend our relationship with imec through the Industrial Affiliation Program.
“The importance of GaN on Si for power devices cannot be understated, particularly as we enter an era of electrically propelled transportation and increasing demands for energy-efficient power-control systems that require high voltage and high power capabilities.
“IQE’s proven track record in developing and manufacturing GaN based epiwafers, coupled with imec’s unquestionable reputation for world-leading research in nanoelectronics makes for a powerful collaboration in this rapidly growing technology space.”
In its earlier collaborative project, imec worked with IQE to create state-of-the-art GaN power diodes. imec has applied its proprietary Gated Edge Terminated (GET) Schottky diode device architecture to IQE’s high-voltage GaN buffers on 200-mm Si substrates. The main challenge on power diodes is to obtain devices that simultaneously show low leakage current and low turn on voltage. Thanks to the GET diode device architecture and to the low buffer leakage current of IQE wafers, the large GaN power diodes (10 mm), which were fabricated in imec’s 200mm Si pilot line, showed a low leakage current (up to 650 V) and low turn-on voltage. The power Schottky diodes reach forward and reverse specifications across the full temperature range, spanning from 25˚C till 150˚C with a tight distribution.
“We are excited about this strategic partnership with IQE. Our joint results show that the IQE epiwafers are of excellent quality and are well-aligned to meet the specifications for power Schottky diodes. We look forward to collaborating with IQE to advance our promising results, which demonstrate that our proprietary GET Schottky diode device architecture and process technology can be transferred to external wafers like those provided by IQE,” stated Rudi Cartuyvels, executive vice president smart systems and energy technology at imec. “Our 200-mm GaN-on-Si process is available to our program partners and is engineered to fit partner specific product needs.”