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CONNECTING THE COMPOUND SEMICONDUCTOR COMMUNITY


October 2011 Volume 17 Number 7


Editor-in-Chief David Ridsdale


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Consultant Editor Richard Stevenson PhD


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Several power electronics firms have followed in Nitronex’s footsteps, including multi-national giant International Rectifier, which is making products on 150 mm silicon. In fact, the growth of GaN-on-silicon has now reached such a level of maturity that it is possible to outsource this step to various epi-houses. This is the route adopted by MicroGaN, a spin out of the University of Ulm that is pioneering development of 600 V transistors and switches incorporating a three- dimensional architecture. This approach enables the realisation of very low parasitic resistances and capacitances, and it promises to open the door to higher levels of device integration (the company’s technology and vision is discussed on pages 14 to 18).


LED manufacturers are also starting to find a home on silicon. Bridgelux is leading the way with its development of LEDs grown on 200 mm substrates, which can be processed at under- utilized 8-inch silicon fabs dotted around the globe. Samsung has also started efforts in this direction, which it reported at ICNS-9 in Glasgow, and it is likely that several other leading LED chipmakers have secretive programmes in this direction.


There is also a band of academic and industrial researchers approaching the growth of III-Vs on silicon from the other direction – that is, they are not looking to cut costs with silicon substrates, but enhance speeds with the compounds. These researchers are the developers of next- generation logic circuits, who see III-Vs as the most promising candidate for extending the march of Moore’s Law.


This topic will feature strongly at CS Europe 2012, which will be held in Frankfurt on 12 and 13 March next year. Although we are still putting the finishing touches to the programme, I can disclose that representatives from Sematech, imec, and many of the leading universities in this field will be speaking at this event.


So why not go to our web-site, book your place today, and make sure you don’t miss out on this event that will also detail the manufacture of LEDs, lasers, power electronics, wireless chips and multi-junction solar cells. I hope to see you there.


Richard Stevenson PhD Consultant Editor


mitch.gaynor@angelbc.com sharon.cowley@angelbc.com E: tbrun@brunmedia.com E: jjenkins@brunmedia.com


A decade or so ago it was rare for anyone to manufacture compound semiconductor devices on silicon, and suspicion greeted the resultant products. But times have changed: Silicon is becoming a more popular foundation for III-Vs, particularly in the electronic sector, and in future silicon substrates could well become the norm.


If this happens, one company that is sure to win the plaudits as a trailblazer is the GaN-on- silicon RF chipmaker Nitronex. This Durham, North Carolina outfit started producing HEMTs on 4-inch silicon way back in 2001 on home-built MOCVD tools, and it has never looked back. Sceptics may have initially questioned whether it was possible to build reliable products from GaN on silicon, but there’s not much talk on that front today.


robin.halder@angelbc.com shehzad.munshi@angelbc.com The steady rise of silicon subs jackie.cannon@angelbc.com david.ridsdale@angelbc.com


editorialview


October 2011 www.compoundsemiconductor.net 3


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