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IQE to supply MACOM with 200mm GaN on silicon wafers

The agreement will enable MACOM to deliver GaN wafers grown on 100mm, 150mm and 200mm silicon substrates for RF applications
IQE has entered an agreement with M/A-COM Technology Solutions (MACOM), a supplier of high performance RF, microwave, and millimetre wave products, to deliver GaN-on-silicon performance with a 200mm silicon cost structure.

The agreement was announced by MACOM along with the introduction of an IP licensing program that will enable GaN insertion and large-scale production across the RF industry. As part of the licensing program, MACOM will make available its GaN-on-silicon technology to select companies for use in RF applications.

Surety of supply is critical for high volume markets such as wireless basestations, estimated by ABI Research to represent more than 60 percent of the overall $1.2 billion RF power market.  As a first step in its licensing program, MACOM will license to IQE the ability to produce GaN-on-silicon wafers utilising MACOM’s patent-protected technology.

The agreement will enable MACOM to deliver GaN RF products with breakthrough bandwidth and efficiency at a mainstream 200mm silicon cost structure and will enable IQE to accelerate GaN penetration into key target markets.

Today IQE says it supplies more than 50 percent of the world’s compound semiconductor epitaxial wafers for RF applications and is already well-established as the leading provider of GaN high electron mobility transistor (HEMT) wafers for RF, broadband, and military power amplifiers.

Transistors for these applications have historically been fabricated using 3 inch and/or 100mm SiC substrates. To complement these products and increase market reach, IQE has developed and demonstrated growth of GaN HEMTs on industry standard silicon substrates at wafer diameters of 100mm, 150mm, and 200mm.

This technology, along with the comprehensive IP portfolio licensed from MACOM, will enable tremendous economies of scale, wafer capacity, and cost structure needed to substantially advance the GaN market.

Drew Nelson, CEO of IQE, says, “We are beginning to see very significant traction for GaN occurring in the compound semiconductor industry, across a wide range of applications. Our partnership with MACOM allows us to further penetrate this market by bringing decades of high volume production experience to create the supply chain needed to accelerate GaN adoption. "

”Combining GaN HEMT performance with low cost and large diameter silicon substrates enables these wafers to be processed through existing high volume silicon factories. Commercial availability of GaN HEMTs on 150mm and 200mm wafers represents a significant milestone toward the widespread adoption of this technology. To date, we have already delivered MACOM 200mm diameter GaN-on-silicon wafers, and we look forward to a powerful ongoing relationship,” adds Nelson.

John Croteau, President and CEO of MACOM, continues, ”MACOM is very excited to enter into this agreement with IQE, the recognised true world leader in compound semiconductor epitaxial supply. We believe that this partnership achieves a critical milestone in the mainstream commercialisation of GaN technology by establishing the manufacturing capability and capacity required to bring reliable, high volume surety of supply to the industry.”

IQE has pioneered a number of GaN-on-silicon technologies for applications spanning RF, power control and LED lighting markets, with a technology roadmap to support the emergence of compound semiconductors on silicon for next generation electronic devices such as microprocessors and embedded systems.


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