RFMD To Convert All GaN Processes To 6-inch GaN-on-SiC
The move to gallium nitride-on-silicon carbide is to reduce platform cost and address growth opportunities in power applications
RFMD has introduced what it says is the world's first 6-inch GaN-on-SiC wafers for manufacturing RF power transistors for both military and commercial use.
The company is converting all GaN production and development to 6-inch diameter wafers using its existing high-volume, 6-inch GaAs foundry to reduce platform cost for the growing GaN device market.
"We are pleased to introduce the industry's first 6-inch GaN-on-SiC RF technology on RFMD's existing high- volume 6-inch GaAs manufacturing line," says Bob Bruggeworth, president and CEO of RFMD. "This merging of production of GaN and GaAs is part of our 'GaN-in-GaAs Fab' strategy to repurpose existing fab capacity to better address growth opportunities from innovative new GaN-based products."
According to industry analyst firm Strategy Analytics, the GaN microelectronics market is expected to more than triple to $334 million by 2017, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 28 percent. This market growth is led by growth in both military (radar, electronic warfare, communications) and commercial (power management, cellular, CATV, land mobile radios) applications.
"By leveraging our technology leadership and high-volume expertise in 6-inch GaAs production, RFMD will now be able to add 6-inch GaN capabilities to deliver new RF Power products that we expect will accelerate revenue growth in our communications, CATV, power conversion, radar, jamming, aerospace and open foundry businesses," comments Jeff Shealy, vice-president of RFMD Power Broadband.
GaN technology supports broad frequency bandwidths and high breakdown voltages in a small area. A 6-inch GaN wafer offers 2.5-times more useable area over competing 4-inch GaN wafer platforms currently available, resulting in 2.5 times more RF power devices per wafer.
Larger area-per-wafer and subsequent lower cost per unit area (in dollars per square millimetre) is key to enabling affordable, high performance power monolithic microwave ICs (MMICs) for military and commercial applications. RFMD expects to complete qualification of its 6-inch GaN platforms in 2014.