GaN FinFET funded, aims for 5G applications

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By Peter Clarke

Finwave Semiconductor Inc. (Waltham, Mass.) has raised $12.2 million in Series A funding following a $4.3 million award from the US government. The monies will be used to bring a GaN FinFET technology to volume production.

The Series A was led by Fine Structure Ventures with additional participation from Citta Capital, Soitec, Safar Partners and Alumni Ventures. The Federal funding came from the US Department of Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) SCALEUP (Seeding Critical Advances for Leading Energy technologies with Untapped Potential) grant.

The funds will be used to recruit staff, product development and for lab facilities, the company said.

“Finwave’s technology unlocks the promise of 5G,” said Jennifer Uhrig, senior managing director at Fine Structure Ventures. “The company combines best-in-class power amplification efficiency with high-volume manufacturing to overcome the performance and cost limitations that have together stymied widespread adoption of mmWave,” she added.

Finwave asserts that 5G networks are being held back by a lack of high performance mmWave power amplifier technology.

Better mmWave

At mmWave frequencies GaN-on-Si amplifiers outperform established alternatives such as RFSOI MOSFETs, GaAs pHEMTs, or SiGe devices. Finwave’s 3DGaN technology improves linearity, output power and efficiency in 5G mmWave systems, the company said – while reducing costs for carriers.

In addition GaN-on-Si processes on 200mm-diameter wafers in CMOS wafer fabs can be used to produce the 3DGaN chips with efficiencies of scale.

“3DGaN FinFET technology is a result of over 10 years of research and development, initially developed at MIT and recognized with the coveted 2012 IEEE Electron Device Society George Smith Award,” noted Bin Lu, Finwave’s CEO and co-founder, in a statement.

“Having solved numerous manufacturing challenges and successfully created a fabrication process using standard 8-inch silicon CMOS tools, Finwave is leading the way in commercializing the 3DGaN technology for 5G,” he added.

Finwave Semiconductor was founded in 2012.

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