Collaboration To Develop GaN-on-Silicon Power Transistors & Diodes

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ST and Leti cooperate to develop and industrialize advanced power GaN-on-Si diode and transistor architectures

Gallium nitride (GaN) is a power semiconductor that is emerging as a technology of choice for a variety of power conversion applications. GaN devices allow operation at much higher voltages, frequencies, and temperatures than conventional semiconductor materials like silicon. Today, GaN is grown on a variety of substrates such as silicon carbide (SiC) and silicon (Si).

Given the attractiveness of GaN-on-Si technology, STMicroelectronics and research institute Leti are cooperating to industrialize this technology for power switching devices. ST says that the power GaN-on-Si technology will enable the company to address high-efficiency, high-power applications including automotive on-board chargers for hybrid and electric vehicles, as well as wireless charging and servers. The collaboration focuses on developing and qualifying power GaN-on-Si diode and transistor architectures on 200mm wafers.

ST & Leti work on GaN-on-Si Tech for Power Conversion

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Together, in the framework of IRT Nanoelec, ST and Leti are developing the process technology on Leti’s 200mm R&D line and expect to have validated engineering samples in 2019. In parallel, ST will set up a fully qualified manufacturing line, including GaN/Si hetero-epitaxy, for initial production running in ST’s front-end wafer fab in Tours, France, by 2020, according to the announcement.

The companies are also assessing advanced techniques to improve device packaging for the assembly of high power-density power modules.

“Recognizing the incredible value of wide-bandgap semiconductors, ST’s contributions in Power GaN-on-Si manufacturing and packaging technologies with CEA-Leti move to arm us with the industry’s most complete portfolio of GaN and SiC products and capabilities, on top of our proven competence to manufacture high-quality, reliable products in volume,” said Marco Monti, President Automotive and Discrete Group, STMicroelectronics.

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“Leveraging Leti’s 200mm generic platform, Leti’s team is fully committed to supporting ST’s strategic GaN-on-Si power-electronics roadmap and is ready to transfer the technology onto ST’s dedicated GaN-on-Si manufacturing line in Tours. This co-development, involving teams from both sides, leverages the IRT Nanoelec framework program to broaden the required expertise and innovate from the start at device and system levels,” said Leti CEO Emmanuel Sabonnadiere.

ST has also recently announced another development of GaN-on-Silicon for RF applications with MACOM, for MACOM’s use across a broad range of RF applications and for ST’s own use in non-telecom markets. While easy to confuse because both use GaN, the two efforts use structurally different approaches that have different application benefits.

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