EpiGaN nv of Hasselt, near Antwerp, Belgium – which supplies gallium nitride on silicon (GaN-on-Si) and gallium nitride on silicon carbide (GaN-on-SiC) epitaxial wafers for power switching and RF power devices as well as sensors – and OMMIC of Limeil-Brévannes, France, which provides compound semiconductor monolithic microwave integrated circuits (MMICs) and foundry services, are collaborating to develop RF GaN/Si technology on 150mm-diameter wafers. OMMIC recently inaugurated what is reckoned to be Europe’s first 150mm GaN production line.
The firms have jointly collaborated on establishing a production process based on EpiGaN’s GaN/Si material technology with in-situ grown silicon nitride (SiN) passivation. They will also cooperate directly to move this technology to 150mm-diameter wafers, targeting future 5G wireless communication standards, for which OMMIC last week announced a large project with a 5G equipment supplier.
The advent of the 5G era about to revolutionize long-distance communications, says EpiGaN. In order to provide users with exceptionally high-speed wireless connections, ultra-low latency and enhanced mobile broadband, gallium nitride is required – in applications such as multimedia streaming, autonomous driving, machine-to-machine communication with billions of interconnected sensors or Internet-of-Things (IoT) – to transmit and receive RF signals in the utmost efficient way, add the firm.
“We offer many attractive USPs for RF power, which add value to device designers, such as in-situ SiN passivation for enhanced device robustness, or very low RF losses up to 100GHz,” says EpiGaN’s CEO Dr Marianne Germain. The high-frequency capability of the firm’s material “enables a very cost-efficient and energy-efficient GaN technology for the higher frequency bands targeted by 5G,” she adds.
“The next-generation 5G standard will require GaN as an enabling semiconductor technology to provide a step-up in performance,” states OMMIC’s CEO Dr Marc Rocchi. “Only then will the experience for the end user be superb. Teaming up with EpiGaN is an essential element of our growth strategy and it enables us to meet the required volume and quality levels for our 5G GaN MMICs,” he adds.