US gives GloFo $30 million to make GaN-on-Si wafers

US gives GloFo $30 million to make GaN-on-Si wafers

Business news |
By Peter Clarke

Globalfoundries Inc. has been awarded $30 million in federal funds for the development and production of gallium-nitride-on-silicon wafers at its fab in Essex Junction, Vermont.

GaN-on-Si promises outstanding performance in both RF and power semiconductor applications with applications in 5G and 6G smartphones, wireless infrastructure, electric vehicles, power grids and solar power.

The $30 million federal funding is an appropriation in the Consolidated Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2022 and will enable Globalfoundries to purchase tools and begin implementation of GaN manufacturing on 200mm-diameter wafers.

“With this new federal funding, and the potential for further support in the 2023 federal budget, GF is well-positioned to become a global leader in GaN chip manufacturing—right here in Vermont,” said Tom Caulfield, CEO of Globalfoundries, in a statement.

DoD encouragement

The US Department of Defense is a sponsor of this funding via its Trusted Access Program Office (TAPO). TAPO has been supporting dual-use – both civilian and military applications – GaN-on-Si development efforts since 2019. This latest development ensure that US manufactured GaN-on-Si is available for military applications 

. TAPO’s primary mission is to procure advanced semiconductors for the Departments most critical and sensitive weapons systems platforms. as GaN provides a stable semiconductor suitable in high power, high frequency devices the DoD needs to maintain technology advantage for the United States. This current development phase plans to leverage previous TAPO successes and continue maturing this dual use technology.

The wafer fab at Essex Junction, Vermont, near Burlington, was among the first major semiconductor manufacturing sites in the United States and was previously owned by IBM.

Today nearly 2,000 GF employees work at the site, which has a manufacturing capacity of more than 50,000 wafers starts per month.

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