27 November 2017
SPTS’s Omega plasma etch system chosen by HiWafer for new 6” GaN-on-SiC high-power RF device production line
SPTS Technologies Ltd of Newport, Wales, UK (an Orbotech company that manufactures etch, PVD and CVD wafer processing solutions for the MEMS, advanced packaging, LED, high-speed RF on GaAs, and power management device markets) has won an order for its Omega plasma etch system from China’s first pure wafer foundry, Chengdu HiWafer Semiconductor Co Ltd, to establish their new 6-inch gallium nitride on silicon carbide (GaN-on-SiC) production line.
The Synapse and ICP process modules on the Omega c2L platform will etch SiC backside vias (BSV) and GaN epitaxial layers to manufacture high-power radio frequency (RF) devices. The high-rate Omega system was selected over the competition because the Synapse provided superior SiC etch rates while the ICP module delivered improved selectivity for GaN etch, says SPTS.
“HiWafer is already a well established Chinese foundry producer of gallium arsenide (GaAs)-based pHEMT and HBT RF devices currently used in 4G communication, and they are an early adopter of SiC and GaN materials for use in high-end RF devices that target the worldwide 5G protocol,” notes Kevin Crofton, president of SPTS Technologies and corporate executive VP at Orbotech. “This leadership position is important as power and RF applications are high on the ‘Made in China 2025’ agenda for promoting domestic production of semiconductor devices, and companies like HiWafer are well-positioned to contribute to realizing this national initiative. Our leadership in high-rate etching of SiC and other dielectric materials will support HiWafer to provide manufacturing solutions for the coming 5G wave,” he adds.
“Orbotech’s SPTS Technologies is a recognized leader in compound wafer processing solutions to the global power and RF device industries. The addition of SPTS’s Omega plasma etch system gives us the tools to compete in GaN-on-SiC RF technology in telecoms and transportation applications, including railway systems,” says HiWafer’s genera manager Nengwu Gao. “Acquiring this capability enables us to explore new applications and supports our ambitions to become a highly profitable and successful semiconductor foundry.”