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EpiGaN Joins EU SERENA Consortium

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SERENA project to develop GaN-on silicon prototype for beamforming in mm-wave multi-antenna arrays

EpiGaN, a European supplier of GaN technology for power switching, RF and sensor applications, has announced its involvement in a new EU research project SERENA (Gan-on-Silicon Efficient mm-wave euRopean systEm iNtegration platform). SERENA started in January 2018 will run for 36 months.

SERENA sets out to develop a beamforming system platform for mm-wave multi-antenna arrays and to enable the functional performance of a hybrid analogue/digital signal processing architecture beyond mainstream CMOS integration.

A proof-of-concept prototype will be built using state-of-the-art GaN-on-silicon technology, SiGe/CMOS integrated circuits and a novel heterogeneous 3D integration approach to reach low-cost with beyond state-of-the-art performance.

The SERENA architecture will be suitable for a wide range of applications such as safety radar, high-speed wireless communications, as well as imaging sensors for 5G and autonomous vehicles, all of which rely on active antenna arrays and electronic beam steering. The fundamental challenge is to produce high-performance antenna systems for the mm-wave range at viable price-points and low energy consumption.

EpiGaN's GaN epi-wafer technology features an in-situ SiN capping layer for surface passivation and device reliability. Plus, it enables contamination-free processing in existing standard Si-CMOS infrastructures. In-situ SiN structuring allows the use of pure and ultra-thin AlN layers as barrier materials. By reducing the short-channel transistor effects this results in superior mmW performance, according to the company.

"RF-GaN technology offers crucial performance advantages over incumbent LDMOS or GaAs technologies, such as greater bandwidth and energy efficiency," comments EpiGaN CEO Marianne Germain. "Our GaN-on-Si technology delivers excellent power density and power-added efficiency (PAE), superior gain, and low RF losses up to 100GHz. By starting out with a fundamentally better semiconductor technology specifically designed for the mm-wave range, our customers realise superior and differentiating device performance for multiple RF applications."

The SERENA consortium has ten industrial and academic partners: Technikon GmbH/Austria (project leader), Ericsson AB/Sweden, Infineon Technologies Austria AG/Austria, EpiGaN NV/Belgium, Ommic SAS/France, Totalförsvarets Forskningsinstitut/Sweden, Fraunhofer Gesellschaft/Germany, Institute of Communication and Computer Systems/Greece, Chalmers Tekniska Högskola AB/Sweden, and Technische Universität Berlin/Germany.


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