VELOX Semi Awarded Funding To Develop GaN On Silicon Transistors For Automotive & Power Supply Applications

October 11, 2007 by Jeff Shepard

VELOX Semiconductor, a manufacturer of Gallium Nitride (GaN) transistors and diodes, announced an ATP (Advanced Technology Program) award from the U. S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The NIST award is for development of high-voltage (600 and 1200V), high-current (20 and 100A) electronic switches based on VELOX’s Gallium Nitride-on-Silicon (GaN on Si) technology.

VELOX states that the program funding will advance the company’s efforts in developing new enhancement-mode Field Effect Transistors (FETs). It is claimed that these new switching devices will offer major benefits to the automotive, computer laptop, consumer and industrial power supply industries. It is stated that successful introduction of the new FETs will both significantly increase the fuel efficiency of hybrid vehicles, and they will increase the efficiency and drastically decrease the size of power supplies used for consumer, computer, industrial and telecom applications.

The ATP funding for the two-year program will total $2,000,000 and matching funds from a variety of sources will make the total program cost of approximately $3,280,000. In Phase I, VELOX will develop 600V, 20A GaN FETs for improved power supply applications. In the next phase, 1200V, 100A devices will be developed, which are suitable for motor driver applications in the automotive industry.

According to VELOX Semiconductor’s CEO, Thomas Hierl, "GaN on Si technology has attracted significant interest from researchers in the last seven years. Major challenges in making GaN-based transistors are now being met in order to produce larger electrical currents and develop ‘enhancement mode’ designs. VELOX has already developed 600V GaN Schottky diodes for consumer and power supply applications. These devices are in the final stages of development before transition to production. The ATP funding will significantly accelerate GaN FETs development at VELOX. It gives us an opportunity to bring a second GaN-based product to the market following the introduction of GaN-based Schottky diodes and we look forward to using the GaN growth and fabrication skills mastered on GaN diodes to advance the GaN-based FETs under this NIST-funded program."