Advanced Power Technology Inc. (APT), a supplier of high performance power semiconductors, announced that the company has entered into a license agreement with the Electronic Systems' sector of Northrop Grumman Corp. to manufacture next-generation silicon carbide ("SiC") microelectronic devices. This agreement forms an exclusive foundry supplier relationship whereby Northrop Grumman will license certain SiC technology to Advanced Power Technology including relevant SiC patents and manufacturing methods to enable Advanced Power Technology to manufacture proprietary high performance SiC microelectronic devices exclusively for Northrop Grumman.
In addition, the agreement allows Advanced Power Technology to use the licensed technology to manufacture and sell other high performance SiC devices for commercial purposes. Both companies possess substantial expertise in SiC technology and view SiC-based power semiconductors as strategically important to a wide array of next generation applications.
The driving force for the adoption of silicon carbide for military as well as civilian applications is the need to reduce weight and size of power control and management systems and their associated support equipment, in particular cooling systems and heat dispersing packaging. SiC semiconductors have demonstrated large performance advantages in numerous test beds over the most advanced silicon components. Military applications include radar, hybrid power systems, electric power control and distribution, electronic jamming, and wideband communications systems.
Potential non-military applications that can benefit from silicon carbide's military-level performance include hybrid vehicles, electric power transmission, computer/servers, medical systems and alternative energy.
"We are very pleased to enter into a long-term contractual relationship with a world class company such as Northrop Grumman," said Russell Crecraft, Advanced Power Technology's executive vice president and chief operating officer. "The development of SiC products for both switchmode and RF power conversion applications has been and continues to be a key strategic initiative for Advanced Power Technology. We expect this new relationship with Northrop Grumman to substantially accelerate our progress towards becoming the leading supplier of SiC power semiconductor products. Combining the expertise of both companies will allow APT to provide leading edge devices built with the highest level of SiC technology."
"Advanced Power Technology brings a solid track record of producing proprietary devices," said Jack Hawkins, director of the Advanced Materials & Semiconductor Device Technology Center for Northrop Grumman's Electronic Systems sector. "We're looking forward to working together on this next generation of SiC technology."
The agreement comes at a time when Advanced Power Technology is in the process of being acquired by Microsemi Corp. Steve Litchfield, Microsemi's vice president of Business Development, stated "Advanced Power Technology’s silicon carbide strategy and capabilities were an important element in our decision to acquire the company. We look forward to participating with them in a very successful relationship."