ST teams up with Leti for high volume GaN on 200mm wafers

ST teams up with Leti for high volume GaN on 200mm wafers

Technology News |
By Wisse Hettinga

This power GaN-on-Si technology will enable ST to address high-efficiency, high-power applications, including automotive on-board chargers for hybrid and electric vehicles, wireless charging and servers.

The collaboration focuses on developing and qualifying power GaN-on-Silicon diode and transistor architectures on 200mm wafers, up from the 150mm wafers currently used. This is a market that the research firm IHS Markit estimates to grow at a CAGR of more than 20 percent from 2019 to 2024.

As part of the IRT Nanoelec project, ST and Leti are developing the process technology on Leti’s 200mm R&D line and expect to have validated engineering samples in 2019. In parallel, ST will set up a fully qualified manufacturing line, including GaN/Si hetero-epitaxy, for initial production running in ST’s front-end wafer fab in Tours, France, by 2020. Leti, a research institute of CEA Tech, also contributed its power GaN technology to Fench startup Exagan.

The silicon substrate is only part of the challenge. Leti and ST are also looking at new techniques to improve device packaging for the assembly of high power-density power modules.

“Recognizing the incredible value of wide-bandgap semiconductors, ST’s contributions in Power GaN-on-Si manufacturing and packaging technologies with CEA-Leti move to arm us with the industry’s most complete portfolio of GaN and SiC products and capabilities, on top of our proven competence to manufacture high-quality, reliable products in volume,” said Marco Monti, President Automotive and Discrete Group, STMicroelectronics.

“Leveraging Leti’s 200mm generic platform, Leti’s team is fully committed to supporting ST’s strategic GaN-on-Si power-electronics roadmap and is ready to transfer the technology onto ST’s dedicated GaN-on-Si manufacturing line in Tours. This co-development, involving teams from both sides, leverages the IRT Nanoelec framework program to broaden the required expertise and innovate from the start at device and system levels,” said Emmanuel Sabonnadiere, CEO of Leti.

Next: GaN RF and SiC

ST recently announced another development of GaN-on-Silicon for RF applications with MACOM, for MACOM’s use across a broad range of RF applications and for ST’s own use in non-telecom markets. This uses a fundamentally difference different architectural approach and is used on 150mm wafers. 

ST has so far focussed on volume production of silicon carbide (SiC) devices for many years, operating at higher voltages with a blocking voltage of more than 1700V, an avalanche rating over 1800V and low on-resistance, making it a good fit for applications such as electric vehicles, solar inverters, and welding equipment.

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