News Article

GaN 'important Across A Range Of Sectors'

Riber is set to provide new GaN products in the future.

Gallium nitride (GaN) compound semiconductors are important for the development of a range of new technologies and Riber is looking to provide a key service in this area in the future.

GaN compound semiconductors have a wide variety of uses, particularly in the fields of RF and diode devices where they can be used to supply high voltages (up to 900 volts) for use in the electric car industry.

Furthermore, GaN offers many alternative uses, making it a flexible and useful product, the firm noted.

"GaN for LED can uniquely produce blue light, that can be converted to white light; GaN for CATV can uniquely produce high power in a wide span of [the] microwave frequency spectrum, enabling the transmission across a large band," commented Riber sales director Dr Pierre Bouchaib and marketing director Michel Picault.

In addition, the technology can be used to "uniquely capture the solar energy from the green and blue side of the spectrum thus increasing the span of energy captured from the sun and allowing higher current in the PV cell", the pair added.

Furthermore, in the field of molecular beam epitaxy (MBE), the company claimed to be a world leader, occupying more than 50 per cent market share for all worldwide MBE machine sales each year.

"Compared to other MBE systems made by our competitors, our GaN systems have the advantages of having been proven to produce good GaN structures (mainly in RF) over large substrate [surfaces] in a real production environment," Dr Bouchaib and Mr Picault noted.

Riber is a French company that was founded in 1964, specialising predominantly in the field of MBE.

Globally, the company has a network of infrastructure that is twice as large as its nearest competitor and this is due to the firm s longevity in the field of MBE, as it began working with the technology in the 1970s when it was first developed.

At the moment, the company has facilities spread across North America, Europe and Asia, with around a third of its properties split between each continent.

Innovations in the field, especially in recent years, however, have meant the company has had to move with the times and its focus is now on developing ammonia nitride production methods, as these can deliver between three and five times faster production rates for compound semiconductor crystals, allowing the business to stay one step ahead of the chasing pack.

Indeed, the firm s Compact21 research and development project recently received funding from the European community to help deliver improved GaN crystals created through the process of MBE using ammonia - an enabler to the development of new MBE tools for microwave and laser devices.

The firm noted that MBE is the preferred technology for many of the compound semiconductor devices used in a variety of high-technology growth application areas, for example for wireless and satellite communications, high-speed fibre optic networks, computers, defence systems and consumer electronics.

As a result, Riber believes 2010 could be a good year for the company and the industry in general, as it looks to diversify its product offering and improve its market share further.
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