UnitedSIC deal drives Qorvo into automotive

UnitedSIC deal drives Qorvo into automotive

Interviews |
By Nick Flaherty

Qorvo’s acqusition of UnitedSiC announced earlier this week will  see UnitedSiC become part of Qorvo’s Infrastructure & Defense Products (IDP) business alongside its 2019 acquisition of power management chip designer Active Semiconductor.

While there are clear advantages in using the UnitedSiC devices in power designs for telecoms applications alongside Qorvo’s RF devices as well as existing data centre power supply designs, the deal opens up the automotive market for Qorvo.

“We view this as very complementary,” said Chris Dries, former CEO and founder of UnitedSiC (above left) who is staying with Qorvo as general manager of Power Device Solutions tells eeNews Europe. “One of the things I loved about this deal is everyone has a home, there’ s no redundancy in personel.”  

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The Active Semi business is key to this deal. “We were brought in in 2019 and we have been able to expand beyond consumer into industrial and defence applications so the combination of United helps us push into more automotive applications much faster,” said David Briggs, senior director programable power management at Qorvo and former CEO at Active Semi (above right). “The technology is there from a control perspective and this opens up the opportunity to apply our innovative algorithms to automotive.”

“This will allow traction inverters with sophisticated control and lowest RDS on with the JFET cascodes to really exploit areas of functional safety,” said Dries. “We have a number of designs in the US and Europe using our discrete TO-247 devices, from the 750V devices with 5.9mΩ RDS(on) and the 800V with 1200V class devices.”   

Next: Implications for UnitedSiC’s ADI deal

UnitedSiC has a long standing supply agreement with Analog Devices (ADI) that Dries says will continue despite the acquisition. Qorvo, formed from the merger of TrQint and RF MicroDevices, and so a direct competitor to ADI in RF an now in electric vehicles, It also has its own silicon carbide fabrication capability for GaN-on-SiC for RF devices.

“We’ve had a long standing relationship with ADI, and this is a commercial relationships and if its good business for both of us we will continue,” said Dries. “Lots of competitors sell to one another in SiC.”

“SiC is the material for high power high voltage power converters and Oqrvo has deep expertise in compound semiconductors including SiC so while the end application area may be different it has the core expertise,” said Dries. “It  is clear the leadership [at Qorvo] is making a play in power.”

“On SiC we do GaN on SiC so as we move forward it is feasible we will bring in to support Chris’ business,” said Briggs. “We will work with the UnitedSiC on the next step for higher power. We are already working with United products in high power RF with the thermal capabilities but coupled with ease of use as a standard MOSET from a gate driver perspective so meeting up with my IP is very simple.”

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