RFHIC Corporation, of Anyang, South Korea has signed a deal with Element Six (E6), a member of the De Beers Group of Companies, to acquire its GaN-on-Diamond technology. RFHIC has been investing in GaN technology since 2004; it was the first fabless firm to use commercially available GaN foundry services. In 2008, the firm expanded its core competency from GaN-on-silicon (Si) to GaN-on-silicon carbide (SiC).
Applications of the technology include 4G LTE, next generation radar and communication systems, says the firm. The rate of adaptation has exploded as the cost of GaN-based solutions has become competitive compared to LDMOS and other legacy technologies, while the performance advantages are becoming clearer for industry demands.
In 2016, RFHIC started to work with GaN-on-Diamond technology. With GaN's ultimate performance limited by factors such as the thermal performance of the substrate material, the firm says it was clear that diamond could unlock opportunities beyond what Si and SiC can ever achieve. RFHIC believes that GaN-on-Diamond is the right technology to unleash the full capability of GaN. The power density of GaN-on-Diamond transistor is expected to be more than three times higher than that of GaN-on-SiC.
RFHIC says it plans to make its GaN-on-Diamond technology widely available for applications such as radar, tactical radios, microwave power, satellite communications, power supplies, and wireless 4G and 5G infrastructure.
Samuel Cho, RFHIC Chairman and CTO, said: "We are very excited about the vast possibilities enabled by GaN-on-Diamond technology. RFHIC expects that this technology will help us to provide a single transistor with RF Power of up to 1kW depending on the frequency, significantly reducing combining loss thus enabling true high power RF systems for a diverse range of applications. The obvious beneficial customers would be the radar makers as the current market's need is to replace tube based transmitter with high power solid state based transmitter. This GaN-on-Diamond technology will certainly accelerate the transformation of the Radar market as well as revolutionize the semiconductor industry.
"Furthermore, we expect the wireless infrastructure's base station and small cell would become more energy efficient and reliable with simultaneously larger bandwidth. This improvement will enable the systems' size to be substantially smaller, reducing the operators' biggest operating cost of space rental. RFHIC will work closely with Element Six and foundry partners for the capability of manufacturing ten thousand six inch GaN-on-Diamond wafers per year in the foreseeable future. RFHIC's technology roadmap is to introduce GaN-on-Diamond based solutions covering up to 40 GHz by the end of 2018," Cho concluded.