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21 January 2019

Compound Semiconductor Centre’s vertical GaN project wins Welsh Government funding via SMARTCymru scheme

Through the SMARTCymru (SMART Wales) scheme via the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the Compound Semiconductor Centre Ltd (CSC) – a joint venture founded in 2015 between Cardiff University and epiwafer foundry and substrate maker IQE plc of Cardiff, Wales, UK – has been awarded Welsh Government funding to support a technical and commercial feasibility study for its ‘VeGaN’ project to develop a vertical gallium nitride device manufacturing capability within the UK.

According to a report from industry analyst Yole Développement in January, the GaN power market will grow at up to 55% per annum over the next five years, driven by the power supply segment, or 93% if adopted for wireless charging in consumer electronics, so there is great opportunity for innovative epitaxial products to unlock this growth potential.

The 2018 roadmap report from the UK Automotive Council and Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) identifies vertical GaN as a more suitable technology for lower-voltage, lower-power automotive applications. These include on-board charging (OBC), DC-DC conversion and additional applications where the higher switching speed of gallium nitride is desirable.

The project will leverage epitaxial growth methods developed by CSC and the device manufacturing expertise of its Compound Semiconductor Cluster partners to develop a voltage-scalable process (200–1200V) where the electric field is supported vertically across a GaN drift layer.

Power transistors using silicon and silicon carbide (SiC) in vertical process architectures such as trench field-effect transistors (FETs) and insulated-gate bipolar transistors (IGBTs) offer improved performance and power density compared with lateral devices. The same benefits would also apply to GaN. The VeGaN project aims to develop enhancement-mode (normally-off) GaN trench FET devices built on thick, low-defect epitaxial GaN layers. This is a cross-cutting technology that addresses emerging automotive markets, ITAR-free defense and space applications as well as broader high-temperature, harsh-environment opportunities.

See related items:

CSC formally launched as first compound semiconductor cluster

IQE and Cardiff University establish JV to develop and commercialize compound semiconductor technologies in Europe

Tags:  IQE

Visit:  http://compoundsemiconductorcentre.com

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