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31 March 2014

IQE delivers 200mm GaN-on-Si HEMT wafers to Singapore-MIT LEES next-generation CMOS program

Epiwafer foundry and substrate maker IQE plc of Cardiff, Wales, UK has delivered the first 200mm (8”) gallium nitride-on-silicon wafers (GaN-on-Si) into the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology Center’s Low Energy Electronic Systems (SMART-LEES) program.

Despite the ever decreasing transistor linewidths and highly complex architectures being deployed by leading semiconductor companies globally, conventional CMOS is now rapidly reaching fundamental limits of silicon performance, notes IQE. This has led to many foundries and integrated device manufacturers (IDMs) actively developing compound semiconductor on silicon (CSoS) technologies in order to exploit the advantageous electronic, optical and power handling properties of compound semiconductors, while continuing to use the scale and cost structure of existing silicon semiconductor fabs, adds the firm.

The SMART-LEES program in Singapore is developing (among other technologies) a comprehensive array of CSoS technologies to facilitate complete monolithic integration of CMOS and compound semiconductor circuits, in a way that allows the processing of wafers through conventional 200mm CMOS processing lines. In addition, design libraries will be developed to allow widespread adoption of these technologies across multiple end markets.

IQE has now delivered 200mm GaN-on-Si high-electron-mobility transistor (HEMT) wafers to this program, which should  enable the realisation of a new generation of RF device architectures, integrated with highly efficient power control circuitry. It is expected that further collaboration will quickly lead to a wide variety of other compound semiconductor combinations to be realised as part of the full array of CSoS technologies.

“It has been clear for some time that conventional CMOS is no longer capable of continuing Moore’s law,” comments project leader Gene Fitzgerald, the Merton C Fleming Professor of Materials Science at MIT. “The ever increasing capital intensity of narrowing linewidths, coupled with the rapidly reducing performance benefit, means a new paradigm needs to be introduced. Compound semiconductors fully integrated on a silicon platform is a highly optimal solution, taking advantage of both the greatly superior performance of compound semiconductors in many applications, coupled with the cost benefits of the existing silicon fab infrastructure,” he adds. “Our program fully integrates III-V devices into the silicon design platform, resulting in the ability to develop fundamentally new circuit designs for a wide-range of applications,” Fitzgerald continues.

The technologies will drive a new phase of growth in the semiconductor industry, believes IQE’s president & CEO Dr Drew Nelson. “Compound semiconductors have always been the next obvious choice to carry forward the silicon industry, and we are very excited about being a major part of the next revolution in fully integrated CMOS technology, bringing the next leap in performance across a great range of technologies.”

See related items:

LEES project aims to integrate optical and electronic components on a chip, using III-V-on-Si technology

Tags: IQE GaN-on-Si III-V-on-silicon CMOS

Visit: www.iqep.com

Visit: http://smart.mit.edu/research/lees/lees.html

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