Odyssey Semis aims to displace SiC with GaN

Odyssey Semis aims to displace SiC with GaN

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

A new stock started trading on a small market in the US this week.

Odyssey Semiconductor Technologies has developed a novel processing modification that will allow gallium nitride (GaN) devices operating above 1000 V. This could displace silicon carbide (SiC) in he fast growing market for electric vehicles, say the firm’s founders. With a small fab in Ithaca, New York, the company plans to use the pulsed laser annealing process to offer a foundry service.

The shares are listed on the smaller Venture OTCQB over-the-counter stock market in the US. The larger OTCQX hosts Chinese foundry SMIC, for example. 

“Odyssey Semiconductor’s listing as a publicly traded company on the OTCQB marks an important milestone for our company,” said Alex Behfar, Executive Chairman and Acting CEO of Odyssey Semiconductor. “We are proud of the accomplishments our team has made so far to develop GaN as the leading high voltage power switching semiconductor material, and we believe that the listing will provide the Company with broader market exposure and visibility, and enhance liquidity for our investors.”

So far GaN devices have proven difficult to process using standard semiconductor processing methods, although Nexperia and Visic for example has been developing GaN parts for high power traction inverters. The process modification will take GaN into the 1kV market which is projected to reach over $3.5bn by 2025.

Last October the company acquired an integrated semiconductor design, fabrication, test, and packaging facility as well as associated tooling. The 10,000 sq. ft. fab is a mix of class 1,000 and class 10,000 clean space as well as tools for advanced semiconductor development and production with a capacity over 10,000 wafers/year.

Advanced lithography capabilities include i-line steppers adapted for handling small pieces up through 200 mm diameter wafers. High-throughput metal and dielectric deposition equipment, advanced etch and packaging tools will allow Odyssey to accelerate the development of its proprietary  1,000 V GaN power-switching transistor technology. The facility will also expand Odyssey’s existing semiconductor device development and foundry service.

To date, Odyssey has been developing its proprietary vertical-conduction GaN transistor technology at various user-facility labs. With the acquisition of this facility, the Company can significantly accelerate the development of its disruptive GaN power-switching transistor products operating above 1,000V.

“This acquisition dramatically improves our ability to design and manufacture our proprietary disruptive GaN-based high voltage switching power conversion devices and systems and should accelerate our timeline into prototype and commercial production,” said Dr Rick Brown, co-founder and previous CEO.

The funding for the acquisition came from a $2.5m private placement of shares in June last year. The public listing on OTCQB allows for more liquidity and for those investors to sell. One of those strategic investors was Silicon Valley-based Software Motor Company, which has developed the a highly electric motor system using a new switched reluctance technology and managed by advanced cloud software.

“We are excited to work with Odyssey as we continuously improve our optimal motor systems. Our most efficient commercially available motors deserve the best power semiconductors, especially as we expand into higher power density applications,” said Ryan Morris, Executive Chairman of Software Motor.

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