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19 September 2013

RFMD introduces first 6” GaN-on-SiC wafers for RF power transistors

RF Micro Devices Inc of Greensboro, NC, USA has introduced what it claims are the world’s first 6-inch gallium nitride on silicon carbide (GaN-on-SiC) wafers for manufacturing RF power transistors for both military and commercial use. The firm is converting all GaN production and development to 6”-diameter wafers using its existing high-volume, 6” GaAs foundry in order to reduce platform cost for the growing GaN device market.

“This merging of production of GaN and GaAs is part of our ‘GaN-in-GaAs Fab’ strategy to repurpose existing fab capacity to better address growth opportunities from innovative new GaN-based products,” says president & CEO Bob Bruggeworth.

According to analyst firm Strategy Analytics, the GaN microelectronics market is expected to rise at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 28%, more than tripling to $334m by 2017, led by both military (radar, electronic warfare, communications) and commercial (power management, cellular, CATV, land mobile radios) applications.

“By leveraging our technology leadership and high-volume expertise in 6” GaAs production, RFMD will now be able to add 6” GaN capabilities to deliver new RF power products that we expect will accelerate revenue growth in our communications, CATV, power conversion, radar, jamming, aerospace and open foundry businesses,” says Dr Jeff Shealy, VP of RFMD Power Broadband.

GaN technology supports broad frequency bandwidths and high breakdown voltages in a small area. A 6” GaN wafer offers 2.5 times more usable area over competing 4” GaN wafer platforms currently available, resulting in 2.5 times more RF power devices per wafer. Greater area-per-wafer and consequently lower cost per unit area (in dollars per square millimeter) is key to enabling affordable, high-performance power monolithic microwave ICs (MMICs) for military and commercial applications, says RFMD.

The firm expects to complete qualification of its 6” GaN platforms in 2014.

Tags: RFMD GaN power transistor


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