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Dow Corning Joins Industrial R+D Program on GaN Semiconductor Materials

Published on January 20, 2011 at 9:14 PM

Dow Corning has formalized an agreement to enter the imec multi-partner industrial R&D program on GaN semiconductor materials and device technologies. The program focuses on the development of the next generation GaN power devices and LEDs. The collaboration between Dow Corning and imec will concentrate on bringing the GaN epi-technology on silicon wafers to a manufacturing scale.

Due to the combination of superior electron mobility, higher breakdown voltage and good thermal conductivity properties, GaN/AIGaN heterostructures offer a high switching efficiency for the next generation power and RF devices compared to the current devices based on silicon (Si). A process for high quality GaN epi-layers on Si substrates is key in obtaining superior power & RF devices. Accurate control of the epi-growth process to master substrate bow, epi-layer defectivity and uniformity while maintaining high epi-reactor throughput are needed to reduce the overall technology cost. Imec has pioneered GaN epi-growth on sapphire, SiC and Si substrates from 2 to 6 inch substrate sizes and currently focuses on developing GaN epi-layers on 8 inch Si substrates. Leveraging the economics of scale and compatibility with high throughput and high capacity 8 inch Si wafer based process technology will further reduce the cost of GaN devices and LEDs.

GaN-on-Si wafer processed at imec with Au-free MOSHEMT flow.

As a leading producer of SiC wafers and epitaxy, Dow Corning is leveraging its capability in electronic materials technology and quality supply to bring next generation materials technology to global device manufacturers. We work closely with our customers to develop innovative solutions throughout the value chain. "By joining the imec GaN Affiliation Program, Dow Corning will rapidly expand its substrate product portfolio with high quality and affordable GaN epi-wafers for power, RF and LED markets" says Tom Zoes, Global Director, Dow Corning Compound Semiconductor Solutions.

Dow Corning is also the majority shareholder in the Hemlock Semiconductor Group joint ventures which is a leading provider of polycrystalline silicon and other silicon-based products used in the manufacturing of semiconductor devices and solar cells and modules.

"We are delighted to welcome Dow Corning as a partner in our GaN Affiliation Program. Teaming up with imec's epitaxy and device researchers within our multi-partner environment creates a strong momentum to bring this technology to market," says Rudi Cartuyvels, Vice President Process Technology at imec.

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