Infineon Technologies AG and Panasonic Corp. have announced an agreement under which both companies will jointly develop Gallium nitride (GaN) devices based on Panasonic’s normally-off (enhancement mode) GaN on silicon transistor structure integrated into Infineon’s surface-mounted device (SMD) packages. In this context Panasonic has provided Infineon with a license of its normally-off GaN transistor structure. This agreement will enable each company to manufacture high performing GaN devices. Customers will have the added advantage of having two possible sources for compatible packaged GaN power switches: a setup not available for any other GaN on silicon device so far. Both parties have agreed not to disclose any further details of the contract. For the first time the companies will showcase samples of a 600 V 70 Mohms device in a DSO (Dual Small Outline) package at the trade show Applied Power Electronics Conference and Exposition (APEC), which will be held in Charlotte, North Carolina, March 15-19, 2015.

GaN on silicon has been receiving significant attention as one of the next compound semiconductor technologies that will on the one hand enable high power density and therefore a smaller footprint (e.g., for power supplies and adapters), and on the other hand serve as a major key for energy efficiency improvement. In general, power devices based on GaN on silicon technology can be used in a wide range of fields, from high voltage industrial applications such as power supplies in server farms (a potential application of the showcased 600V GaN device) to low voltage applications such as DC-DC conversion (e.g., in high-end consumer goods). According to an IHS market research report the GaN on silicon related market for power semiconductors is expected to grow with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 50%, leading to an expansion of volume from US $15 million in 2014 to US $800 million by 2023. 

“Infineon is committed to serve its customers with a broad best-in-class product and technology portfolio including reliable power devices based on gallium nitride. We are convinced that enhancement mode GaN on silicon switches, together with our corresponding driver and optimized driving scheme, will provide high value to our customers, while the dual sourcing concept will help them manage and stabilize their supply chains,” stated Andreas Urschitz, president of the Power Management & Multimarket Division of Infineon Technologies AG.

“Panasonic developed its normally-off GaN power technology which has a simple configuration and easy-to control dynamics, by making full use of its compound semiconductor experience. We expect to accelerate the expansion of GaN power devices by licensing our normally-off GaN transistor structure out of our GaN power technology to Infineon. We will continuously contribute to solutions for consumer requests by innovating our normally-off GaN technology”, said Toru Nishida, president of Panasonic Semiconductor Solutions Co. Ltd.