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NEWS ANALYSIS


Infineon and International Rectifier: WHAT NEXT?


What does Infineon’s latest acquisition mean for industry? Rebecca Pool talks to the company to find out its plans


AS THE NEWS SINKS IN that Infineon is to buy International Rectifier, many in the industry are wondering what next?


In its biggest acquisition yet, Germany’s largest chipmaker stumped up $3 billion in cash for IR, bolstering its international presence in the US and Asia, and gaining one of the largest manufacturers of power management chips in the world.


The move complement’s Infineon’s range of high voltage MOSFETs − the biggest chunk of IR revenue came from its low voltage MOSFETs − and also delivers low power IGBTs to its 1000 W to 2000 W range of the same devices. And while Infineon is still reaping the rewards of buying digital power management IC maker Primarion in 2008, IR provides power devices for new markets including


notebooks and game consoles.


Still, the best may be yet to come. Infineon has been manufacturing SiC diodes since 2001, and introduced its first SiC transistor − the ‘CoolSiC 1200 V JFET − last year, which combined with MOSFET and driver IC gives a direct drive device for solar, UPS and industrial drives applications.


But while this has meant the business has had high voltage markets stitched up, the lower voltage end of the market has presented a problem. Not any more; enter IR with its GaN-on-silicon HEMTs for applications of 600 V and less.


“We started GaN research and development, but we haven’t had a product on the market yet,” says Tillmann Geneuss, manager of communications at Infineon. “It’s no secret that, for GaN, companies such as International Rectifier and Transphorm are leading the competition.”


Clearly, acquiring IR changes this. As Geneuss points out: “GaN has been a huge effort for IR, and it has generated a lot of intellectual property on the GaN-on- silicon epitaxy process.”


And crucially the company has myriad very solid epitaxy-related patents for


22 www.compoundsemiconductor.net October 2014 Copyright Compound Semiconductor


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