Imec Welcomes New Research Partners to GaN Research Program

July 19, 2010 by Jeff Shepard

Micron Technology, Applied Materials, and Ultratech have joined the imec industrial affiliation program (IIAP) on GaN-on-Si technology. This multi-partner R&D program focuses on the development of GaN-on-Si (gallium nitride-on-silicon) process and equipment technologies for manufacturing solid state lighting (e.g. LEDs) and next-generation power electronics components on 8-inch Si wafers.

Gallium nitride is a promising material for optoelectronics and advanced power electronic components, offering higher breakdown voltage and current capacity than silicon which is used in most components today. However, to make GaN-based devices a competitive alternative to silicon devices, GaN manufacturing technology needs to achieve the same economies of scale. Today, state-of-the-art LED manufacturing processes are typically performed on expensive 4 inch sapphire substrates. By depositing the GaN material on 8 inch silicon substrates, the productivity of GaN-based device manufacturing can be significantly increased. In addition, imec’s GaN-on-Si program is utilizing an Applied Materials mainframe to develop 8 inch GaN-on-Si technology that is compatible with the CMOS fab infrastructure. This can further enhance productivity and result in lowering device cost.

The multi-partner GaN R&D program, launched in 2009, aims to reduce the cost and improve the performance of GaN devices. This program brings together leading integrated device manufacturers (IDMs), foundries, compound semiconductor companies, equipment suppliers and substrate suppliers to develop 8 inch GaN technology. The IIAP builds on imec’s excellent track record in GaN epi-layer growth, new device concepts and CMOS device integration.

Micron Technology, Applied Materials, and Ultratech will actively participate in the IIAP at imec in Leuven, Belgium. This on-site participation enables the partner companies to have early access to next-generation LED and power electronics processes, equipment and technologies.

Rudi Cartuyvels, Vice President & General Manager Process Technology at imec stated: "We are excited to welcome 3 major companies to our GaN-on-Si IIAP. Less than a year after the program’s launch in July 2009, we have assembled a strong consortium, including IDMs and equipment suppliers, and we expect more companies to join in the near future. This collaboration reflects the value of imec’s research on GaN-on-Si as a reliable cost-effective solution for next-generation LED and power electronics devices."