Imec announced a strategic partnership for GaN-on-silicon technology with the Cardiff, UK-based wafer products and services firm IQE. The partnership builds on promising results achieved in a recent project, in which imec and IQE collaborated to fabricate GaN power diodes using imec’s proprietary diode architecture and IQE’s high voltage epi wafers.
Imec's GaN-on-silicon Industrial Affiliation Program offers joint research and development on GaN-on-silicon 200mm epitaxy and enhancement mode device technology to a variety of companies including IDMs, equipment and material suppliers, fabless design houses and packaging companies. The program includes research on novel substrates to improve the quality of epitaxial layers, new isolation modules to enhance integration levels, and advanced vertical device development.
As a GaN-on-silicon Program partner, IQE gains access to next-generation epitaxy, devices and power electronics processes, including imec's complete 200mm CMOS-compatible GaN process line.
Wayne Johnson, head of IQE's power business unit, said: "We are delighted to have the opportunity to extend our relationship with imec through the Industrial Affiliation Program. The importance of GaN on Si for power devices cannot be understated, particularly as we enter an era of electrically propelled transportation and increasing demands for energy efficient power control systems that require high voltage and high power capabilities.
"IQE's proven track record in developing and manufacturing GaN based epi wafers, coupled with imec's unquestionable reputation for world-leading research in nanoelectronics makes for a powerful collaboration in this rapidly growing technology space."
In its earlier collaborative project, imec worked with IQE to create state-of-the-art GaN power diodes. Imec has applied its proprietary Gated Edge Terminated (GET) Schottky diode device architecture to IQE's high voltage GaN buffers on 200mm silicon substrates. The main challenge on power diodes is to obtain devices that simultaneously show low leakage current and low turn on voltage.
The combination of GET diode device architecture and the low buffer leakage current of IQE wafers, resulted in large GaN power diodes (10mm), fabricated in imec's 200mm silicon pilot line, with a low leakage current (up to 650V) and low turn-on voltage. The power Schottky diodes reached forward and reverse specifications across the full temperature range, spanning from 25 to 150 degrees C with a tight distribution.
"We are excited about this strategic partnership with IQE. Our joint results show that the IQE epi wafers are of excellent quality and are well-aligned to meet the specifications for power Schottky diodes. We look forward to collaborating with IQE to advance our promising results, which demonstrate that our proprietary GET Schottky diode device architecture and process technology can be transferred to external wafers like those provided by IQE," stated Rudi Cartuyvels, executive vice president smart systems and energy technology at imec. "Our 200mm GaN-on-Si process is available to our program partners and is engineered to fit partner specific product needs."