Chinese GaN chip maker comes to Europe

Chinese GaN chip maker comes to Europe

Interviews |
By Nick Flaherty

Chinese gallium nitride (GaN) chip maker is exhibiting in Europe for the first time. Dr. Denis Marcon, general manager of Innoscience Europe, talks to Nick Flaherty at eeNews Power ahead of the PCIM conference next week.

Innoscience has two 200mm fabs dedicated to GaN on Silicon in Suzhou and Zhuzai, China, and planning a significant expansion, alongside the launch of design centres in Belgium and the US and higher voltage GaN technology. 

“We are the biggest IDM [integrated device manufacturer] with two fabs fully dedicated to GaN on silicon,” said Marcon, who is also Marketing Manager for the USA and Europe. “We use brand new 8in tools as other fabs for GaN are based on old 6in lines and this has limitations in the production capability and the yields that are possible. We are beyond 85% on yield and close to 90% with 10,000 wafers per month at 85% capacity,” he said.

The company is backed by UK processor designer ARM as well as CMBI, SK in Korea and Chinese battery giant CATL. It has 1400 staff with 300 in R&D. The company plans to expand the capacity to 14,00 wafers a month by the end of the year and 70,000 wafers a month by the end of 2025.

“We have a normally off [HEMT] device and cover a large range from 30V to 150V and up to 650V. We are the only one that can offer both high voltage and low voltage devices.”

There are several different platforms and the capacity increase is a key factor for both the foundry business and for the company’s own products.

“Today the majority of the sales are in China and we have shipped over 30m devices. I see a 50/50 split between high and low voltage in Europe – the 60V or 100V for 48V to 12V power conversion while the 650V device is very versatile. What is strong for us is the security of supply,” he said. “A customer can develop a product with us and be confident that they can have the supply, rather than foundries where GaN is not the key business.”

“Today we have completed phase 1 which provides 6000 wafers per month up to 10,000. We have a plan for phase 2 with more reactors and more ASML Twinscan scanners. We are the first one using the scanners for GaN on silicon. We can go down to 0.25 micron and that is important for low voltage so we can reduce the on resistance and scale down the gate length.”

These tools will also be key to developing parts that integrate the power transistor with the gate driver.

“Today we have discrete devices and we are internally developing an IC platform to make a driver,” he said. “Several partners buy our wafer and co-package a CMOS driver [in a system in package (SIP)]. We are developing our own GaN IC but we need to see how the market will evolve, versus a SIP.

“Above 650V we have a target of 1200V,” said Marcon. ”imec has demonstrated that in a lateral device and we are currently working on the technology,” said Marcon, who previously worked at imec.  

The process is qualified for automotive applications, particularly for lidar laser sensors for ADAS drier safety systems and autonomous robotics.

“Our devices are already used in lidar for automotive and we are qualifying a specific device for a customer,” he said.

Not only is the company a foundry, but it is also developing its own products.  “We will have our own devices by the end of 2022 but most will be in 2023 at 100V and 650V.”

The company has a reference design for a 140W power supply that uses its devices to achieve efficiencies of over 95%. The design measures 60x60x22mm (2.4×2.4×0.9in) with a power density of 1.76W/cm3 (29W/in3).

This uses Innoscience’s INN650DA140A, a 650V /140mΩ GaN HEMT in a 5x6mm DFN package, for switches S1 and S2, the 650V/240mΩ, 8x8mm DFN-packaged INN650D240A for S3, and the INN650DA240A, a 5x6mm DFN 650V/240mΩ device for S4. S5 and S6 are delivered by the INN150LA070A, a 150V/7mΩ, 2.2×3.2mm LGA low voltage part.

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