AES Semigas


18 October 2023

GlobalFoundries gains $35m US Government funding to accelerate 200mm GaN-on-Si chip production

GlobalFoundries (GF) of Malta, NY, USA (which has operations in Singapore, Germany and the USA) has been awarded $35m in federal funding from the US government to accelerate the manufacturing of its gallium nitride (GaN) on silicon semiconductors at its facility in Essex Junction, Vermont. The funding brings GF closer to large-scale production of GaN chips, whose ability to handle high voltages and temperatures enable “game-changing” performance and efficiency in 5G and 6G cellular communications for infrastructure and handsets, automotive and industrial Internet of Things (IoT), as well as power grids and other critical infrastructure.

With the new $35m in funding, awarded by the Department of Defense’s Trusted Access Program Office (TAPO), GF plans to purchase additional tools to expand development and prototyping capabilities, moving closer to at-scale 200mm GaN-on-silicon manufacturing. As part of the investment, GF plans to implement new capabilities for reducing the exposure of GF and its customers to supply chain constraints of gallium, while improving the speed of development, assurance of supply and competitiveness of US-made GaN chips.

The funding builds on years of collaboration with the US government — including $40m in support from 2020–2022 — that leverages GF’s Vermont team and their 200mm semiconductor manufacturing experience, and applies it to GaN-on-silicon manufacturing.

The federal funding “will solidify our state’s position as a leader at the forefront of manufacturing next-generation chips,” reckons Senator Peter Welch. “It’s critical we support investment in this industry here in Vermont and in the US — both for our local economic growth and for our national security,” he adds.

“This strategic investment continues to strengthen our domestic ecosystem of critical dual-use commercial technologies, ensuring they’re readily available and secure for DoD utilization,” says The Honorable Christopher J. Lowman, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Sustainment.” In concert with key partners, we’re proactively shaping the future of our defense systems,” he adds.

“GaN on silicon is an ideal technology for high-performance radio frequency, high-voltage power switching and control applications for emerging markets, and it’s important for 6G wireless communications, industrial IoT, and electric vehicles,” says president & CEO Dr Thomas Caulfield. “GF has a longstanding partnership with the US government, and this funding is critical to move GaN-on-silicon chips closer to volume production. These chips will enable our customers to realize bold new designs that push the envelope of energy efficiency and performance of critical technologies we rely on every day.”

GF’s facility in Essex Junction, Vermont, near Burlington, was among the first major semiconductor manufacturing sites in the USA. Currently, about 1800 GF staff work at the site. GF-made chips are used in smartphones, automobiles, and communications infrastructure applications around the world. The facility is a DMEA-accredited Trusted Foundry and manufactures secure chips in partnership with the US Department of Defense, for use in some of the nation’s most sensitive aerospace & defense systems.

See related items:

GlobalFoundries awarded $30m in US funding for development and production of GaN-on-Si

IQE forms strategic partnership with GlobalFoundries



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