imec Announces Strategic Partnership on Gallium Nitride-on-Silicon Technology with IQE

imec, a renowned nanoelectronics research center, and IQE, a key player in the design and manufacture of cutting-edge semiconductor wafer products and services, have announced a strategic collaboration on Gallium Nitride-on-Silicon (GaN-on-Si) technology.

Forward and reverse diode current at high temperature (150◦C). The diodes have 10mm anode width and an anode to cathode distance of 10µm (Credit: imec)

GaN technology helps to make faster switching-power devices with lower on-resistance and higher breakdown voltage than silicon. This makes it a material of choice for sophisticated power electronic components. The collaboration builds on encouraging results obtained in a recent project, where imec partnered with IQE to produce GaN power diodes using its proprietary diode architecture and high voltage epiwafers of IQE.

IQE joins imec’s GaN-on-Si Industrial Affiliation Program, which is involved in joint research and development on GaN-on-Si 200 mm epitaxy and enhancement mode device technology with a number of companies such as IDMs, fabless design houses, material and equipment suppliers, and packaging companies. The program also incorporates research activities on novel substrates to enhance the quality of epitaxial layers, development of sophisticated vertical devices, and new isolation modules to improve integration levels. IQE, being a GaN-on-Si Program partner, gets access to advanced epitaxy, devices and power electronics processes, which include imec’s entire 200 mm CMOS-compatible GaN process line.

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 epiwafers, coupled with imec’s unquestionable reputation for world-leading research in nanoelectronics makes for a powerful collaboration in this rapidly growing technology space.

Wayne Johnson, Head of the Power Business Unit, IQE

imec created advanced GaN power diodes in its earlier collaborative project with IQE. The research center’s proprietary Gated Edge Terminated (GET) Schottky diode device architecture has been applied to IQE’s high voltage GaN buffers over 200 mm Si substrates. Obtaining devices that are capable of concurrently showing low turn on voltage and low leakage current is the primary challenge on power diodes. The large (10mm) GaN power diodes that were produced in the 200 mm Si pilot line of imec demonstrated a low turn-on voltage and low leakage current of up to 650 V, thanks to imec’s GET diode device architecture and IQE wafers’ low buffer leakage current. The power Schottky diodes advance further and reverse specifications all through the complete temperature range of 25-150˚C with a tight distribution.

We are excited about this strategic partnership with IQE. Our joint results show that the IQE epiwafers 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. Our 200 mm GaN-on-Si process is available to our program partners and is engineered to fit partner specific product needs.

Rudi Cartuyvels, Executive Vice President, Smart Systems and Energy Technology, imec

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