High-Voltage GaAs Power Diode Production begins in Dresden

April 11, 2018 by Paul Shepard

3-5 Power Electronics GmbH (35PE) in Dresden is entering the market with a new technology for high-voltage and high-current applications in power electronics. The company was founded in 2015 and specializes in the development and production of GaAs power semiconductors. On April 11, 2018, its first production plant went into operation in the Dresden Technology Center.

"Silicon-based elements are used for many applications today. However, these elements do not achieve the level of performance that will be required in the future for goals such as the implementation of Industry 4.0-capable technologies or the breakthrough of electric mobility.

"The gallium arsenide structures that we produce offer the required power density, efficiency, and reliability within an incredibly compact system," explained the two Managing Directors Dr. Gerhard Bolenz and Dr. Volker Dudek, who founded 35PE together with Richard J. Kulle. All three managers have decades of experience in the international semiconductor industry.

In the production plant, 35PE processes GaAs wafers under high vacuum to produce GaAs power semiconductors. With this innovation, the company has set itself apart from competitors. As of now, twelve patents have been applied for and registered in Europe, China, Japan, and the USA for process technology, material designs, and component designs.

Gerhard Bolenz and Volker Dudek

Further applications are currently being processed. The company employs the fab-lite business model, which means that 35PE carries out the core processes in-house and outsources standard services to contract manufacturers.

The resulting GaAs diodes meet the requirements placed on power electronics in areas such as modern industrial applications, renewable energy generation, or fully electric or hybrid vehicles.

In the medium- and high-voltage range between 600- and 1700-Volts, they supplement silicon-based and silicon carbide-based power electronics and offer improved energy efficiency, while also reducing the weight, size, and overall cost of the respective complete system.

35PE, with its products and expertise, is in an excellent position to participate in the high level of growth predicted in the power electronics market. This growth is mainly expected to be achieved in the Far East.

In addition to the company's own sales activities in Europe and the Americas, an international network featuring strategic partners in China and Japan will enable rapid entry to the Asian market. Additional partnerships are currently being developed on location.

"When we were looking for a location, our first choice was Silicon Saxony, with Dresden as the hub. We believe this location offers a great opportunity to establish a competence center for gallium arsenide power semiconductors together with other specialists in the semiconductor industry and in the field of semiconductor research, and in doing so, to achieve a global presence," said Dr. Bolenz and Dr. Dudek, citing a major objective behind their decision to choose Saxony as a location.

The team of 35PE (left to right): Dmitri Opalnikov, Dr. Gerhard Bolenz/general manager, Kerli Lauk, Allan Fairfull, Dr. Marc Dietrich, Dr. Volker Dudek/general manager, Richard J. Kulle/co-founder

35PE team currently includes seven individuals and the company hopes to grow this number to more than 20 within approximately three years.