X-FAB partners Exagan to produce GaN-on-Silicon devices on 200-mm wafers

May 19, 2015 // By Paul Buckley
X-FAB Silicon Foundries has entered into a joint development agreement with Exagan, a start-up innovator of gallium nitride (GaN) semiconductor technology, to industrialize Exagan’s GaN-on-silicon technology, begin producing high-speed power switching devices on 200 mm wafers.

The two companies are planning to establish a European production center where the two partner companies will manufacture GaN devices for the solar, industrial, automotive, IT electronics and other markets. The two companies already have begun to demonstrate their capabilities by processing the first GaN-on-silicon devices built on 200 mm substrates at X-FAB’s wafer fab in Dresden, Germany, and now are transforming that prototype into a process robust enough for the mass production environment.

Working with CEA-Leti in Grenoble, where some process steps are performed, X-FAB and Exagan are manufacturing the first of Exagan’s G-FET 650 Volt, fast-switching power devices on 200 mm substrates using a standard silicon manufacturing line. To date, the global semiconductor industry’s work with GaN has been limited to 100 mm and 150 mm wafers due to the challenges of creating the required GaN layers on silicon substrates. Without the ability to use larger wafers in mass production, GaN-based semiconductors have not been available at a competitive price-performance point compared to other power-switching alternatives. Exagan’s breakthrough G-Stack technology enables GaN-on-silicon devices to be manufactured economically on 200 mm substrates by depositing a unique stack of GaN and strain management layers that alleviates the stress between bonded GaN and silicon layers. The resulting G-FET devices meet customer requirements for high breakdown voltage, low vertical leakage and high-temperature operation. The advanced semiconductors also allow greater power integration, which improves the efficiency and reduces the cost of electrical converters.