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Siltronic, Imec partner in GaN-on-Si research

Posted: 05 Jul 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:GaN-on-Si? silicon wafer? research program?

Siltronic AG and Imec have agreed to collaborate on the development of silicon wafers with a gallium nitride (GaN) layer in Imec's GaN-on-Si industrial affiliation program. The partnership aims to allow the production of next generation solid-state lighting (e.g. LEDs) and power semiconductors on 200mm silicon wafers.

A material with great potential, GaN combines superior electron mobility, high breakdown voltage and good thermal conductivity. It is suitable for optoelectronics and advanced power semiconductors, which are used in wind power turbines, solar power systems, electric vehicles and energy-saving kitchen appliances. Compared with conventional, silicon-based applications, structures with GaN/(Al)GaN layers exhibit a very efficient switching behavior. However, GaN technology still needs further refinement to be economically competitive.

The partnership will allow Imec to draw on its expertise in GaN deposition on silicon substrates with diameters of 2 to 6in and Siltronic on its decades of exposure to epitaxial deposition. Economies of scale in the production of 200mm wafers could significantly reduce the manufacturing costs for GaN-based LEDs and power semiconductors.

Siltronic will actively use the facilities and technical resources of Imec in Leuven, Belgium. Integrated device manufacturers, foundries, silicon compound producers and substrate manufacturers will also join Siltronic in this multinational research. This coordinated on-site approach enables inter-company collaboration between all involved partners.

"We are delighted to welcome Siltronic into our research network," said Rudi Cartuyvels, vice president, R&D business lines at Imec. "Siltronic has an enormous amount of experience in epitaxial deposition on silicon wafers that will increase the momentum of our GaN program to deliver a manufacturable GaN technology on 200mm silicon wafers."

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