IMEC today announces the launch of a new
industrial affiliation program (IIAP) that will focus on the development of
GaN technology for both power conversion and solid state lighting applications.
An important goal of the program is to lower GaN technology cost by using large-diameter
GaN-on-Si and hence by leveraging on the Si scale of economics.
The scope of the IIAP is to develop high-voltage, low-loss, high-power switching
devices based on large-diameter (up to 200mm) GaN-on-Si technology. Potential
applications include high-power switching in solar converters, motor drives,
hybrid electrical vehicles or switch mode power supplies.
High-voltage power devices are traditionally based on Si MOSFET structures.
However, for a number of applications, they are reaching intrinsic material
limits. GaN-based devices can overcome these limits due to a unique combination
of excellent transport properties and high electrical field operation capability.
The few GaN devices today on the market are based on AlGaN/GaN high-electron
mobility transistor (HEMT) structures and are normally-on devices, designed
for RF applications, e.g. in wireless communication. Within the IIAP, the next-generation
of power electronics components is envisaged, requiring the development of normally-off
devices (for safety reasons) with high-voltage breakdown (600-1000V) and low
on-resistance, operating in enhancement mode.
A second sub-program will exploit GaN-on-Si technology for the development
of high-efficiency high-power white LEDs. Key issues are enhancing the external
and internal quantum efficiencies and enabling high current operation. III-nitrides
in general exhibit excellent light emission properties in a very broad range
of the visible and ultraviolet (UV) spectrum. However, LED illumination by these
devices can only become broadly acceptable if new volume manufacturing technologies
are developed that enable 150lm/W LEDs.
Common challenge for power electronics and optoelectronics is cost reduction.
“GaN on large-diameter Si wafers (from 100mm and 150mm towards 200mm)
in combination with CMOS compatible processes offers the best perspective to
create economically viable solutions”; said Marianne Germain, GaN program
director. “While very few players can today process GaN on large-diameter
Si wafers, IMEC has recently shown in collaboration with AIXTRON crack-free
GaN growth on 200mm wafers. Also for other challenges, the IIAP can build on
IMEC’s 10 years’ experience in GaN technology, including unique
skills in epi-layer growth, new device concept, device integration and a thin-film
textured LED technology for high-efficiency III-nitride LEDs.”
IMEC invites both Integrated Device Manufacturers and Compound Semiconductor
Industry to join the program where they can build on IMEC’s extensive
expertise in GaN and benefit from a sharing of cost, risk, talent and IP.