GlobalFoundries has been awarded $35m to accelerate volume manufacturing of its gallium nitride (GaN) on silicon at Essex Junction, Vermont.
The funding from the US government brings GF closer to large-scale production of GaN chips for 5G and 6G cellular communications for infrastructure and handsets, automotive and industrial Internet of things (IoT), as well as power grids and other critical infrastructure.
The cash comes from the Department of Defense’s Trusted Access Program Office (TAPO) and will fund additional tools to expand development and prototyping capabilities for 200mm wafers for a US supply chain.
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GF plans to implement new capabilities for reducing the exposure of GF and its customers to the supply chain constraints of gallium, while improving the speed of development, assurance of supply and competitiveness of US made GaN chips.
“GaN on silicon is an ideal technology for high performance radio frequency, high voltage power switching and control applications for emerging markets, and it’s important for 6G wireless communications, industrial IoT, and electric vehicles,” said Dr. Thomas Caulfield, president and CEO of GF. “GF has a longstanding partnership with the U.S. government, and this funding is critical to move GaN on silicon chips closer to volume production. These chips will enable our customers to realize bold new designs that push the envelope of energy efficiency and performance of critical technologies we rely on every day.”
GF Vermont has received $40 million in support from the US government over the last two years. The plant was among the first major semiconductor manufacturing sites in the US and has around 1,800 staff. GF employees work at the site.
The facility is a DMEA accredited Trusted Foundry and manufactures secure chips in partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense.
“Vermont is a leader in semiconductor innovation. This federal funding is welcome news, and will solidify our state’s position as a leader at the forefront of manufacturing next-generation chips,” said US Senator Peter Welch. “It’s critical we support investment in this industry here in Vermont and in the U.S. – both for our local economic growth and for our national security. I look forward to continuing to fight for our domestic semiconductor and chip manufacturers in the Senate.”
“This strategic investment continues to strengthen our domestic ecosystem of critical dual-use commercial technologies, ensuring they’re readily available and secure for DoD utilization. In concert with key partners, we’re proactively shaping the future of our defense systems,” said The Honorable Christopher J. Lowman, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Sustainment.