+44 (0)24 7671 8970
More publications     •     Advertise with us     •     Contact us
News Article

International Rectifier signals major GaN plan

The semiconductor giant reveals its release schedule for high-volume production of GaN-based power management devices.

International Rectifier (IR), the US company that specializes in power management devices, expects its five-year development of GaN-on-silicon technology to move into the volume production phase around a year from now.

Mike Briere, who has spearheaded the "GaNpowIR" project at the Californian firm, told compoundsemiconductor.net that IR s strategy would see prototypes demonstrated at November s Electronica show in Munich, with initial product releases to follow in late 2009.

The decision to use 150 mm silicon substrates means that IR s devices will be produced on the largest manufacturing platform yet seen for wide-bandgap semiconductors.

And unlike competing SiC technologies, IR s intention is to cover a huge range of commercially viable products, operating from 20 V up to 1200 V.

Briere says that choosing a CMOS-compatible approach on a large-area wafer platform of 150 mm silicon provides a huge commercial advantage over SiC:

"It is difficult to imagine a SiC-based technology providing the scalability in substrates, epitaxial materials or device manufacturing [to be] competitive with IR s GaNpowIR platform," he said.

Briere estimates that 1-2 per cent of all power electronics applications, a device market currently worth $7 billion, will be using GaN-based chips within five years of their production release by IR.

With some 1 billion square centimeters (equivalent to around six million 150 mm wafers) of silicon needed to meet today's demand for power devices, this level of penetration should amount to a monthly run-rate of at least 5000 GaN-on-silicon wafers, enough to keep perhaps half-a-dozen 7 x 6-inch reactors busy.

Briere expects the impact of the compound material to mirror that of IR s HEXFET technology, introduced in the late 1970s.

"The HEXFET platform enabled rapid adoption of switch-mode power supplies over the previous standard," he said. "It is unlikely that the current electronic infrastructure would be practically feasible without [their] widespread use."

GaN technology, added Briere, was "far superior" to even state-of-the-art silicon for high-frequency, high-density, highly efficient power conversion:

"It is reasonable to expect this new platform to be a real game-changer in power electronics."

The applications for GaN-on-silicon devices targeted by IR range from lighting to audio, and from motor drives to AC-DC conversion.

One of the few areas not covered is very-high-voltage applications, although another compound material may yet take over from silicon in this niche: "SiC power devices will likely have a strong market presence for applications above 1500 V in the future," Briere conceded.

Connecting the Compound Semiconductor Industry

The 13th CS International conference builds on the strengths of its predecessors, with around 40 leaders from industry and academia delivering presentations that fall within five key themes: Ultrafast Communication; Making Headway with the MicroLED; Taking the Power from Silicon, New Vectors for the VCSEL, and Ultra-wide Bandgap Devices.

Delegates attending these sessions will gain insight into device technology, find out about the current status and the roadmap for the compound semiconductor industry, and discover the latest advances in tools and processes that will drive up fab yields and throughputs.

To discover our sponsorship and exhibition opportunities, contact us at:

Email: info@csinternational.net
Phone: +44 (0)24 7671 8970

To register your place as a delegate, visit: https://csinternational.net/register

Search the news archive

To close this popup you can press escape or click the close icon.
Register - Step 1

You may choose to subscribe to the Compound Semiconductor Magazine, the Compound Semiconductor Newsletter, or both. You may also request additional information if required, before submitting your application.

Please subscribe me to:


You chose the industry type of "Other"

Please enter the industry that you work in:
Please enter the industry that you work in: