ON Semiconductor joins imec’s GaN-on-Si research program

ON Semiconductor (Nasdaq: ONNN) has joined imec to collaborate on the development of next-generation GaN-on-Si power devices. ON Semiconductor is presently building a GaN processing line in its Oudenaarde facility in Belgium Oudenaarde, Belgium. The Oudenaarde facility, which was acquired from AMI Semiconductors in 2008, has over 40,000 square feet of clean room space, is located on a 10 acre campus, and presently produces 0.35 µm to 2 µm low, medium, and high voltage analog CMOS and BCD technologies on 6 in. wafers (150mm). Denis Marcon, product marketing manager for the power electronics and LED programs at imec said the goal was produce GaN-on-Si at the facility.

GaN is characterized by superior electron mobility, higher breakdown voltage and good thermal conductivity properties, making it useful for power and radio frequency (RF) devices which need high-switching efficiencies. Today, GaN-based power devices are too expensive for large volume manufacturing, as they are fabricated on small diameter wafers using non-standard production processes, according to imec.

Caption:  Imec’s power devices on 200mm CMOS-compatible GaN-on-Si

Imec’s research program is focused on developing GaN-on-Si technology on 200 mm wafers, as well as reducing the cost and improving the performance of GaN devices. Last year, imec’s research program successfully produced 200 mm GaN-on-Si wafers, bringing processing within reach for standard high-productivity 200 mm fabs. Moreover, imec developed a fabrication process compatible with standard CMOS processes and tools, the second prerequisite for cost-effective processing.

“As a top 20 global semiconductor supplier with a portfolio focused on energy efficient devices, ON Semiconductor has been researching GaN silicon technologies for several years,” said Hans Stork, senior vice president and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at ON Semiconductor. “Partnering with imec will help strengthen our current market position and potentially assist us in adding a competitive leading-edge technology to our customer offerings. We look forward to collaborating with a broad consortium of like-minded companies on forward-looking research in this field.”

According to Rudi Cartuyvels, vice president of smart systems and energy technology at imec: “Extraordinary developments continue to emerge from our GaN-on-Si Affiliation Program, creating further inroads to drive down production costs The newest addition, of ON Semiconductor as a strategic program partner, further advances our collective expertise. Leveraging joint efforts will help us overcome the next hurdle toward economical volume manufacturing, ultimately bringing GaN power devices to the market.”

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