IQE plc announces the launch of gallium nitride based, high electron mobility transistor (GaN HEMT) epitaxial wafers on 150mm diameter semi-insulating silicon carbide (SiC) substrates supplied by the WBG Materials subsidiary of II‐VI Inc. (NASDAQ: IIVI), a global provider of engineering materials and optoelectronic components.

GaN power amplifiers offer superior power capability, efficiency, bandwidth and linearity compared with silicon (Si) or gallium arsenide (GaAs)-based technologies commonly used, providing significant benefits in terms of both higher performance and lower overall system costs. 

GaN-based low-noise amplifiers exhibit improved robustness, noise figure and dynamic range when compared to incumbent solutions. In addition, GaN-based transistors can operate at high temperatures, thus reducing system cost, size and weight. As a result, GaN transistors are now established as a leading new technology for a wide range of defence applications. 

Introduction of 150mm GaN HEMT epi wafer products also enables cost reduction, customers’ production capacity and yield improvement, as well as potential for insertion into a wider range of chip fabrication facilities. To date, commercial market penetration of GaN HEMTs has been limited by the higher cost of epitaxial material grown on 100mm SiC substrates. 

GaN HEMT fabrication using LDMOS (laterally diffused metal oxide semiconductor) process lines has been demonstrated by IQE's Customers and the Group’s 150mm products are compatible with existing LDMOS processing lines that have been made available as a result of the silicon industry’s transition to 200mm technology.

Russ Wagner, VP of IQE Wireless Business Unit said:

“Scaling up to 150mm wafer diameter is a critical milestone on the path to technological maturity and wide market acceptance of GaN HEMTs on SiC. IQE has established an industry-leading position by offering a full range of GaN-based high-power RF transistor wafers in formats that enable the most cost-effective processing and system designs. 

“We are very pleased with the quali18ty of substrates supplied by II-VI Inc. and look forward to continuing our partnership as we execute volume production ramp and expand IQE’s range of advanced high-power high-frequency transistor products for defense and wireless infrastructure applications.”

Dr Tom Anderson, general manager of II-VI Inc. subsidiary WBG Materials, said:

“The WBG Materials subsidiary of II-VI Inc. has developed high quality 4H - 150mm SiC substrates, for both the RF and power markets. These 150mm SiC substrates will greatly reduce device costs by increasing the number of devices produced per wafer, enabling 150mm wafers to be processed using modern, high volume semiconductor tools designed for large wafers and by providing competitive sourcing and leveraging of high volumes into commercial markets. 

 “Our partnership with IQE in this 150mm product development has enabled rapid technology advances for both Groups and we are looking forward to continuing our work together to deliver this state-of-the-art product to our joint end users.”