GaN technology development
/Expertise/GaN-on-silicon technology and GaN power devices

GaN-on-silicon technology and GaN power devices

About GaN-on-Si

Gallium nitride (GaN) is anticipated to be the next-generation power semiconductor. Power devices based on GaN have a higher breakdown strength, faster switching speed, higher thermal conductivity and lower on-resistance. That means they significantly outperform Si-based power chips.

The first-generation of GaN-based power devices will play a key role in the power conversion within battery chargers, smartphones, computers, servers, automotive, lighting systems and photovoltaics. Today, GaN is grown on a variety of substrates, including sapphire, silicon carbide (SiC) and silicon (Si).

Imec takes today GaN-on-silixon (GaN-on-Si) e-mode and diode technology to a higher level of maturity. And it explores the next generation GaN technology with a higher level of integration (GaN-IC) and higher performances.

Read this in-depth 2022 research update on GaN-on-silicon.

We have been pioneering GaN technology for more than 15 years. We use 200mm/8-inch wafers to realize GaN-on-Si devices at lower costs while maintaining world-class performance. Our research covers GaN epitaxy as well as device engineering and processing technology. 

Imec demonstrated successful monolithic integration of Schottky diodes and depletion-mode HEMTs with 200 V GaN-IC: read the press release.

Here's how you can engage with our GaN-on-silicon activities:

  • GaN Industrial Affiliation program: become a part of an ecosystem of IDMs and tool vendors. Imec complements your research team by exploring and de-risking the next generation of GaN-based technologies: GaN-IC, novel substrates, voltages beyond 650V, (quasi) vertical device, evolution of GaN-on-Si, ...
  • GaN technology transfer: incorporate our state of the art 200mm GaN-on-Si epitaxy, e-mode and diode technology to slash your time-to-market
  • GaN private lot: design your device on imec’s state of the art 200mm GaN-on-Si technology platform for 200V and 650V (e-mode) power devices. Imec delivers prototype wafers, tunes the process for your needs and eventually sustains low-volume production.

Imec's GaN-on-Si platform

Imec has built a 200mm/8-inch Au-free CMOS-compatible platform. The major focus is on E-mode and Schottky diodes for power-switching applications. With the same platform, we can also enable GaN-based RF devices, thanks to a 200mm/8-inch GaN-on-Si substrate with low RF losses.

imec platform

 

GaN-on-Si epitaxy

200mm/8-inch GaN-on-Si epitaxy is challenging and requires a carefully-designed buffer for stress engineering to enable high-breakdown voltage and avoid formation of cracks and slip lines. Furthermore, the buffer needs to be dispersion-free. Imec has been exploring and optimizing several buffer architectures for 200mm/8-inch GaN-on-Si epitaxy.

Our latest 200mm/8-inch GaN-on-Si epitaxy shows excellent surface morphology and good reproducibility. Moreover, it's dispersion-free and has low vertical leakage current both at RT and at 150C.

Our 200mm/8-inch GaN-on-Si epi recipes are available on 3 different reactors from 2 vendors (Veeco K465i & Veeco Propel, Aixtron G5+ C). Imec’s proprietary recipes can be transferred to partners quickly, and are available for licensing.
 

Epitaxy

Voltage Application

Voltage @ 1μA/mm2 - 25°C

Voltage @ 1μA/mm2 – 150°C

Max Breakdown at

200V

450

390

>700V

650V

780

750

>1200V 

E-mode (Normally-off)

Imec has been pioneering GaN on e-mode (i.e. normally off) device technology. The latest shows:

  • large threshold voltage (VTH>2V)
  • very low specific on-resistance
  • no dispersion (<20% Dynamic RDS-ON)
  • 200V and 650V voltage ranges

Imec’s 200mm CMOS compatible and Au free GaN technology can be transferred to your fab and also tuned to your specific needs. 

Moreover, imec can provide with you with the PDK so that you can design your e-mode device within imec technology.

A lot of 12 200mm/8-inch GaN-on-Si wafers will then be processed with your private mask set, characterized and delivered to you. 

Imec can also help you withthe device design and, if needed, tune the GaN processing according to your needs.

Normally-off

Parameter

Description

200V

650V

RDS_ON – 25°C

On-state resistance at 25°C

<10Ω mm

<20Ω mm

Dynamic RDS-ON

10µs ON, 90 µs OFF - substrate grounded - at maximum rated voltage and full temperature range

<20%

<20%

VTH_gm

Threshold voltage from maximum gm slope

2.9V

2.9V

VTH_current

Threshold voltage (ID=10µA/mm VDS=VGS)

2.15V

2.15V

ID_OFF

Off state drain leakage at rated voltage

<50nm/mm

<50nm/mm

IGS_ON

On-state gate-source leakage at VGS=6V

<10µA/mm

<10µA/mm

VGS_MAX

Absolute maximum gate voltage. 

7V

7V

    More details More details

Schottky diode

Imec has developed a 200mm GaN-on-Si diode technology with its proprietary Gate Edge Termination (GET) technology.

The main challenge that comes with developing power diodes is to obtain devices that simultaneously show low leakage current and low turn-on voltage. Exactly that can be realized with imec’s GET diode device architecture. Imec’s Schottky diodes meet forward and reverse specifications across the full temperature range (from 25˚C till 150˚C) with a tight distribution.

Imec’s technology can quickly be absorbed by our partners and can be tuned to their specific needs.
 

Schottky diode    

Description

Test Conditions

200V

650V

VF_25C

Forward Voltage at 25˚C, IAC = 0.1 A/mm

1.3V

1.6V

VT_25C

Turn-on voltage at 25˚C, IAC = 0.001 A/mm

0.6V

0.7V

IR_25C

Reverse Leakage at 25˚C, VAC = rated voltage

10nA/mm

5nA/mm

RON

ON resistance 25˚C, Max slope ΔVAC/ΔIAC

3.5Ω·mm

5.7Ω·mm

Next-generation GaN-on-Si technologies

Next to improving GaN-on-Si e-mode and Schottky diode technology, imec is also investigating the next generations of GaN technologies that will provide:

  • higher level of integration (GaN-IC)
  • higher performance 
  • larger voltage rating: toward 1200V and beyond

Our research stretches along 3 main paths tracks:

  • Epitaxy on novel substrate technology: to enable GaN-IC (e.g. GaN-on-SOI) or thicker GaN epitaxy for higher voltage range and (quasi)vertical devices
  • GaN-IC: to develop isolation and integration modules to enable and design GaN-based integrated circuits such as high-side/low-side switches on chip. 
  • Novel device: to explore (quasi) vertical device for high voltage/current applications and novel e-mode architecture for lower on-resistance

All these activities will be performed by using imec’s state of the art 200mm/8-inch GaN-based CMOS compatible platform. 

As of today, imec has already demonstrated GaN-on-SOI epitaxy as well as a first high-side/low-side GaN-IC on chip with perfect isolation among the transistors.

Moreover, imec has shown 200mm GaN-on-QSTTMtransistors processed into imec’s200mm CMOS line. 

Next to this, a first proof of concept of a quasi-vertical device has been processed into the imec’s 200mm CMOS line: the first version of imec’s quasi vertical device shows a Vth beyond 4V.

Perfect isolation between HS and LS / Imec’s GaN-IC schematic concept

Downloads

At imec bright people build a bright future.

You could be one of these builders. Whether you are an engineer or an operator, a consultant or PhD student, we need a versatile group of people to help us create positive change.

Join the forward thinkers

Related jobs

Development of reliable Back-end-of-Line interconnects for high commutation speed power devices, with applications in LIDAR for self-driving vehicles
Reliability of BEOL interconnects for power devices
ASIC Product Engineer
Support of existing ASIC products in production and their related technical changes
Pulsed DC electromigration on aluminum interconnects used for high commutation speed power switches
Explore the limits of aluminum interconnects to allow the reliable distribution of power to drive systems for LIDAR application
ASIC Process & FA Engineer
ASIC Failure Analysis & Process Engineering
Researcher III-N MOCVD
You are member of the epitaxy research group (EPI), which is responsible for developing growth processes in close collaboration with imec’s device integration departments. You work in a cross-functional team of about 15 people with whom you interact frequently. You will work in a
Senior researcher III-N epitaxy by MOCVD
Assembly Engineer
Technical support interface between our international customers and the different assembly houses
Patent Information Officer (MSc in Physics, Electronics or Electrical Engineering)
Using your scientific background to do patentability searches, patent landscape studies and assessments of the patent portfolios
Reliability Researcher
As Reliability researcher you will be obtaining a fundamental understanding of the kinetics of charge trapping in the defects is crucial for enhancing device performance and enabling the future 6G/mmWave technologies.
RF TEST ENGINEER
Shape the device technology for future wireless communication with us!
Job opportunities

What can we do for you?

  • We have unique cleanroom facilities including a state-of-the-art, Au-free, CMOS compatible, 200mm GaN-on-silicon technology platform for 200V and 650V power devices.

  • Our industrial affiliation program (IIAP) connects you with imec’s global partner ecosystem, enabling you to share costs and lower risk through collaborative and precompetitive research.

  • Our expertise enables us to develop a solution tailored to your needs. We also accommodate the low-volume production of your device.

Why work with us?

  • Our research is based on a strong synergy between epitaxy, process integration, device technology and simulation
  • We have an excellent track record in GaN-on-Si power devices with state-of-the-art d-mode (depletion mode) and e-mode (enhancement mode) power devices.
  • Our research is founded on high-quality 200mm/8-inch wafers with GaN power electronics featuring buffer layers with a high-breakdown voltage.
alt

Subscribe to our thematic newsletters

Sign up