SHORTLIST 2013

Substrates & Materials Award


150-mm 4HN Silicon Carbide Epitaxial Wafers
Kyma
10-Inch Diameter Aluminum Nitride on Sapphire Template Product
Rubicon Technology
6-inch sapphire substrates


Compound Semiconductor Manufacturing Award


AIX G5+ : 5 x 200mm GaN-on-Si MOCVD Reactor
ARC Energy
CHES furnace for sapphire crystal growth

VAPORSTATION™ III Central Delivery System

EPC9102


Metrology, Test and Measurement Award

Agilent Technologies HSTD
New B1505A Power Device Analyser
Bruker Corporation
D8 FABLINE Metrology for Semiconductor Manufacturing
Jordan Valley Semiconductors
QC3 Fast HRXRD Metrology Tool


Device Design and Packaging Award


New 50A Silicon Carbide (SiC devices)

Radiation Hardened Isolated DC/DC Converters (SA50-120)
Osram Opto Semiconductors
Direct Emitting Green Laser Diodes

III-Nitride Varactors with Capacitively-Coupled Contacts – new technology platform for RF electron


Innovation Award

Brolis Semiconductors
Development of novel GaSb based optoelectronics
EPISTAR LAB
Warm White High Voltage Chipset

TriConnect™ 802.11ac Wi-Fi Solution for Mobile Devices

Auratus Deposition Enhancement Methodology


R & D Award


New Generation 50V GaN HEMT Technology

Near Junction Thermal Transport Program

High Efficiency Germicidal UV LEDs

Substrates & Materials Award

150-mm 4HN Silicon Carbide Epitaxial Wafers

In 2012 Cree successfully developed new high quality low micropipe 150-mm 4H n-type silicon carbide, (SiC) epitaxial wafers. Cree's latest advancement lowers device cost and enables adoption for customers with existing 150-mm diameter device processing lines for 150-mm epitaxial wafers with highly uniform epitaxial layers as thick as 100 microns.

SiC is a high-performance semiconductor material used in the production of a broad range of lighting, power and communication components including, LED power switching devices and RF power transistors for wireless communications.

Cree's 150-mm diameter single crystal SiC substrates enable cost reductions and increased throughput while bolstering the continued growth of the SiC industry. Cree's ability to deliver high volumes of 100-mm epitaxial wafers is unrivalled in the SiC industry and the latest 150-mm technology continues to raise the standards for SiC wafers.

Cree's vertically integrated approach offers customers a complete solution for high quality 150-mm SiC epitaxial wafers providing industry leaders within the power electronics market the stable supply they demand.

What industry challenge does this address?

Cree is successfully addressing the lack of availability of affordable high quality SiC materials within the power electronics market.

How does it solve the problem?

Cree leads the SiC materials marketplace in driving to larger diameters and this latest advancement lowers device cost and enables adoption for customers with existing 150-mm diameter device processing lines. Cree's vertically integrated approach offers customers of a complete solution for high quality 150-mm SiC epitaxial wafers providing industry leaders within the power electronics market the stable supply they demand.

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Kyma

10-Inch Diameter Aluminum Nitride on Sapphire Template Product

Kyma Technologies, Inc., a supplier of crystalline aluminium nitride (AlN) and gallium nitride (GaN) materials and related products and services, announced in 2012 the successful demonstration of a 10-inch diameter aluminum nitride (AlN) on sapphire template.

Kyma's AlN templates are manufactured using its patented plasma vapour deposition of nanocolumns (PVDNC™) technology, which provides GaN LED manufacturers with throughput, cost, and performance benefits. LED manufacturers can choose Kyma's PVDNC™ AlN templates as a replacement for bare and patterned sapphire substrates by manufacturers of blue, green, and white light emitting diodes (LEDs).

Until recently, the wafer diameter standard for GaN LED wafer manufacturing has been 50mm (2"). Recently, sapphire manufacturers have made much progress in increasing the size of sapphire boules from which ever larger sapphire substrates can be sliced, with sapphire diameter demonstrations up to 12" being achieved by certain sapphire providers. (The 250-mm (10-inch) diameter sapphire substrate was provided courtesy of Monocrystal, of Stavropol, Russia.)This has enabled some of the major GaN LED manufacturers to begin transitioning to larger diameter sapphire, up to 150-mm (6-inch) in some cases, to enhance manufacturing throughput and to achieve better economies of scale. Kyma believes the LED community will begin looking beyond 150mm (6-inch) diameter in the next few years.

In 2011 Kyma announced the successful commissioning of its new high volume PVDNC™ AlN template manufacturing tool and the demonstration of the world's first 300mm (12-inch) diameter AlN on silicon template that is suitable for high quality gallium nitride (GaN) growth.

Kyma's 10" diameter PVDNC AlN on sapphire template is pictured along with smaller diameter (6" and 4") products.

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Rubicon Technology

6-inch sapphire substrates

Rubicon Technology is an advanced electronic materials provider that is engaged in developing, manufacturing and selling monocrystalline sapphire and other crystalline products for light-emitting diodes (LEDs), radio frequency integrated circuits (RFICs), blue laser diodes, optoelectronics and other optical applications. The company applies its proprietary crystal growth technology to produce very high-quality sapphire in a form that allows for volume production of various sizes and orientations of substrates and windows. Rubicon is a vertically-integrated manufacturer with capabilities in crystal growth, high precision core drilling, wafer slicing, surface lapping, large-diameter polishing and wafer cleaning processes, which the company employs to convert the bulk crystal into products with the quality and precision specified by its customers. The company is the market leader in larger diameter products to support next-generation LED, RFIC and optical window applications.

Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) are the future of lighting because they are environmental friendly, durable, have much longer life and consume considerably less energy than traditional lighting sources. LEDs are used for backlighting in nearly all mobile applications such as cell phones and GPS systems. Rapidly growing applications for LEDs includes larger display backlighting for notebook computers, desktop monitors and LCD televisions as well as giant LED displays for stadium signage and electronic advertising. LED streetlights and LED replacement bulbs for commercial and residential lighting are also beginning to displace existing lighting solutions.

Sapphire is the predominant substrate material used as the foundation to produce a vast majority of all blue, white, green and UV LEDs. Sapphire substrates are also used to produce blue laser diodes for applications such high-definition DVD players and gaming systems.

LED production is now migrating to larger diameter sapphire wafers which fit well with Rubicon's cost effective, large diameter ES2 crystal growth and sapphire fabrication technologies. Their proprietary ES2 crystal growth technique along with expertise in wafer fabrication enables the company to deliver customised products tailored to meet customers' needs.

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Compound Semiconductor Manufacturing Award

G5+ : 5 x 200mm GaN-on-Si MOCVD Reactor

With its latest product AIX G5, AIXTRON SE has introduced a 5x200 mm GaN-on-Si (Gallium Nitride on Silicon technology package for its AIX G5 Planetary Reactor® platform). Following a customer-focused development program, this technology was designed and created in AIXTRON's R&D laboratory and consists of specially designed reactor hardware and process capabilities. It is now available as a part of the AIX G5 product family and any existing G5 system can be upgraded to this latest version.

Suited for GaN power electronics as well as for LED on Si applications it addresses the industry's key requirements in a unique way:

  • Highest throughput with 5x200 mm reactor capacity
  • Uniformity pattern with rotational symmetry
  • Behaves like a silicon single wafer reactor and therefore enables highest yields targeting greater than 95% area in spec and controlled wafer bow of 20µm min-max final bow
  • Capability to use standard thickness 200 mm silicon wafers
  • Industry-wide the only reactor that enables managing the temperature gradient through the wafer
  • In-situ temperature profile tuning
  • Customised wafer carrier temperature optimisation according to customer device requirements

What industry challenge does this address?

GaN-on-Si technology is the technology of choice for power electronics applications and additionally a very promising candidate for high performance low cost HB-LED manufacturing. It is assumed that LEDs on 200mm Si is the disruptive technology that enables manufacturing cost reductions of 60%, compared to today's mainstream 100mm sapphire. The challenge was to develop a reactor that produces GaN based devices on silicon without compromising the performance or yield currently obtained on sapphire or smaller size silicon substrates. The technology must provide high-yield growth of GaN devices on large area substrates meeting the fundamental physical challenges of a strong wafer bow and crack formation as well as the reactivity of Ga with Si.

How does it solve the problem?

Based on extensive numerical simulation, new hardware components and processes were developed. A novel gas inlet was designed that provides unmatched gas phase stability and controllability. The setup delivers excellent process reproducibility uniformity and yield on the full area of all 200 mm wafers. Furthermore temperature management was adapted to the requirements of the large area GaN-on-Si process. Special focus was put on the bow management. The reactor minimises the vertical heat flux through the wafer which results in the lowest wafer bow. The specific geometry of the reactor provides rotational symmetry of the GaN films. Additionally, a reliable method to reset all chamber conditions was developed meeting the challenges of the Ga-Si chemistry.

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ARC Energy

CHES furnace for sapphire crystal growth

CHES furnaces for sapphire crystal growth use a new technology called Controlled Heat Extraction System. CHES technology furnaces convert more than 75% of the sapphire grown into product which is c-axis sapphire for light emitting diodes (LED) applications. This is compared to 10-35% for conventional technologies. This means CHES furnaces are able to supply High Brightness LED manufacturers with much more efficient sapphire substrates at reduced costs.

This material utilisation improvement was needed as the industry proceeds towards larger diameter substrates. CHES furnaces achieve this efficiency with three features.

Firstly, sapphire is grown on the c-axis of the crystal which matches the orientation required for HB-LED manufacturing. This saves the wasteful method of coring from the side of the boule which results from a-axis growth (process utilised by conventional technologies).

Secondly, CHES furnaces create sapphire boules that are near net shape. This allows further savings and can allow for eliminating the coring step as the outer diameter can be simply ground to shape.

The third feature is very low defect levels. The presence of defects is a major challenge for conventional sapphire growth technologies and greatly reduces yield when growing for large diameter applications. Another benefit to CHES is less bow and warp during epitaxy. In the MOCVD reactor excess bow and the presence of warp can dramatically reduce LED chip yield. CHES achieves low warp due to the wafers being sliced from a layer of the boule that was grown in a short time creating a single heat time signature. In addition to the growth advantages, CHES furnaces use a high level of automation for crystal growth. This has dual advantages: less operator training costs and higher consistency in the growth process. These features make CHES furnaces a key technology in reducing HB-LED costs.

What industry challenge does this address?

Sapphire crystal growth has been on-going for about 100 years and it was used as a specialty product because it was expensive. The industry had problems in growing c-axis sapphire hence a-axis was commonly grown. Product requirements of c-axis were cored perpendicular to the growth axis of a-axis crystals. LED application requires c-axis sapphire substrates in very large quantities. ARC Energy made a paradigm shift by focusing on c-axis sapphire growth and the result is CHES furnaces for sapphire crystal growth. All the above advantages followed.

How does this solve the problem?

CHES furnaces make sapphire substrates affordable and these economies increase with larger diameter sapphire. CHES furnaces operate with more than 75% material utilisation for large diameter. Competing technologies can only reach 10-35% and this yield decreases with larger diameter sapphire. CHES furnaces can today supply the HB-LED industry with the large diameter substrates required to reduce solid state lighting (SSL) costs. Using 2-inch diameter substrates as baseline for a single MOCVD run 6-inch sapphire provides 55% more LED chips and for 8-inch the advantage is 77%. This represents a dramatic improvement in cost savings for LED chip manufacturing.

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VAPORSTATION™ III Central Delivery System

The VAPORSTATION™ III Central Delivery System offered by Dow Electronic Materials is designed to deliver metal-organic precursors to multiple CVD reactors from a central supply source cabinet using a high-purity carrier gas.

The system uses an on-board evaporator to convert liquid precursors supplied from a bulk source canister into a vapour phase and is capable of tightly controlling the flow rate of material to the connected CVD reactors. The VAPORSTATION III Central Delivery System is controlled through a touch screen interface providing users with easy operation of automatic and manual modes for set-up safety maintenance and evaporator controls. This delivery technology enables users to run several reactors with no downtime for precursor cylinder change which provides significant opportunity for increased reactor throughput and lower cost of ownership. Because the system eliminates the need for cylinders at each reactor the footprint for each reactor and the number of components requiring maintenance are both reduced. Elimination of on-board precursor delivery allows for more consistent process control across multiple reactors and utilising a bulk supply approach maximises the supply of precursor material available for longer production runs. The tool also provides greater process safety in production areas as a result of less material handling and the ability to segregate the precursor supply cabinet from the processing area. As a result precursors would be plumbed into the processing area for delivery in a vapour form (metal-organic precursors in vapour phase are significantly less hazardous than precursors in liquid phase).

The VAPORSTATION III Central Delivery System is targeted specifically for bulk delivery of MOCVD precursors used in the epitaxial growth process for compound semiconductor devices such as LEDs lasers solar cells and optoelectronic devices. With more than three decades of experience Dow Electronic Materials is the world's leading supplier of MOCVD precursors for the LED industry.

What industry challenge does this address?

The primary challenge addressed by the VAPORSTATION III Central Delivery System is the effort and cost associated with managing small-volume MOCVD precursor cylinders through logistics and in epi processing areas. Reactors configured with on-board cylinders are shut down when the precursor source is depleted and the cylinder is changed out. The constant movement of new and depleted cylinders is inefficient and expensive. There are a number of other challenges that the VAPORSTATION III Central Delivery System addresses including the difficulty and complexity of matching process parameters between reactors as well as maximizing the reactor throughput when using on-board precursor delivery.

How does it solve the problem?

By utilising a single bulk cylinder, up to 37 kg to supply multiple CVD reactors, the VAPORSTATION™ III Central Delivery System eliminates the logistics necessary to manage full and depleted cylinders for each reactor. In addition, the capacity of the evaporator is large enough to allow for bulk cylinder change-out with uninterrupted supply of precursors to the reactors which allows for users to maximise reactor throughput. The design of the VAPORSTATION Central Delivery System controls enables consistency in material supply to each of the reactors in the production loop. The system allows for precise control of the precursor in vapour phase in a manner not possible with on-board cylinders which contributes directly to better device quality and reduced binning.

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EPC9102

The EPC9102 is an isolated DC/DC 1/8TH brick converter. The design is a 36 V – 60 V input to 12 V output 375 kHz phase-shifted full bridge with 17 A maximum output current. The EPC9102 features the 100 V EPC2001 eGaN FETs in conjunction with the LM5113 100V half-bridge gate driver from Texas Instruments. The EPC9102 demonstrates that a new benchmark in performance can be achieved by using high switching frequency eGaN FETs coupled with the LM5113 the industry's first eGaN optimised IC driver.

What industry challenge does this address?

Energy savings in servers and telecom equipment has become one of the highest priorities for lowering cost and reducing the environmental footprint caused by our expanded use of cell phones and the internet. The EPC9102 demonstration circuit was designed to showcase the size and improved efficiency that can readily be achieved using eGaN FETs.

How does it solve the problem?

eGaN FETs have lower switching figures of merit versus comparable silicon FETs and offer designers the opportunity to increase the operating frequency of converter designs while decreasing power dissipation. This increase in switching frequency allows a higher power density in the magnetic components. As these components are a major limitation of power density output power can now be increased within a given form factor or the solution size can be significantly without sacrifice to performance.

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Metrology, Test and Measurement Award

Agilent Technologies HSTD

New B1505A Power Device Analyzer

The B1505A is an integrated solution that provides researchers and device / process development engineers of power devices with high-voltage and high-current source and measurement capabilities. The fully integrated curve tracer mode makes it easy for users to take advantage of its PC-based EasyEXPERT software.

The all in one analyzer / curve tracer unit is designed to characterise all current emerging and evolving power devices from sub-pA to 1500A / 10kV (10 μs pulse with μΩ -resistance measurement capability).

Key Features of the Agilent B1505A Power Device Analyzer/ Curve Tracer –

  • Wide current/voltage range: 1500 A/10 kV
  • Accurate leakage measurement (sub-pA capability)
  • Precise on-resistance characterization (μΩ resolution)
  • Pulsed measurements as fast as 10 μs
  • Medium current measurement at high voltage bias: 500 mA @1200 V
  • High power wafer probing support enables testing at > 200 A & 10 kV on-wafer
  • True knob-sweep curve tracer functionality
  • Integrated thermocouple inputs for temperature measurement
  • Oscilloscope view (I/V) function supports output waveform monitoring
  • Fully automated measurement & data analysis
  • High current/voltage measurements traceable to international standards
  • Scalable platform and architecture make it easy to add capabilities as needs change

What industry challenge does this address?

Power devices power modules and power management ICs are a growing device category that requires both high-power and high-accuracy test capabilities. In order to meet emerging standards for improved energy efficiencies power devices must function ever more efficiently even as they continue to become more complex smaller and faster. New devices using wide band gap materials such as silicon carbide (SiC) or gallium nitride (GaN) have been widely developed in order to achieve higher efficiencies. To meet performance and safety requirements these developments require high-voltage on wafer measurement capabilities of greater than 3000V to reduce development and qualification times.

How does it solve the problem?

Today's new power devices require new and innovative techniques for accurate test and characterization. The Agilent Technologies B1505A meets all the requirements for high current high voltage and medium current measurement at high voltage bias. With its next generation curve tracer architecture and sophisticated software environment it allows detailed device characterization automated test and operator safety with its carefully considered safety interlocks. It comes with a wide variety of dedicated test accessories which coupled with its next generation architecture ensures unparalleled performance and ease of use in power device evaluation and characterisation.

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Bruker Corporation

D8 FABLINE Metrology for Semiconductor Manufacturing

The functional units of semiconductor and compound semiconductor devices shrink in size and thickness from generation to generation. In addition, the device structures become increasingly complex – and the process more and more expensive. Thus, the demand for reliable analytics for process development and at-line or in-line quality control increases permanently.

X-ray metrology offers a non-contact and non-destructive method of probing the nanometric scale, which provides various essential parameters without the need to use a reference.

Secondly, the method is known and accepted for many years within scientific, research and development communities for its accuracy and reliability. In many cases just one quick measurement is required to determine sample parameters with a spatial resolution better than 50 μm in diameter.

The D8 FABLINE is the Bruker AXS' product line dedicated to semiconductor industries. The instrument consists of two modules. The analytical tool consists of the X-ray metrology unit combined with the EFEM (Equipment Front End Module) for easy FAB automation integration; the Spartan dual load port from Asyst technology allows automated sample change.

The X-ray metrology unit is based on the D8 DISCOVER, the world's leading diffraction instrument for R&D in semiconductor industry.

The D8 FABLINE is the only X-ray metrology instrument with four combined applications:

  • High-Resolution X-Ray Diffraction (HRXRD)
    • Single-crystal / epitaxial layer structure, e. g. SiGe
    • Composition, thickness, relaxation
    • Spot down to 50 μm in diameter
  • X-ray Reflectivity (XRR)
    • Polycrystalline, amorphous, single-crystal film structure, e. g. HfO2 on blanket
    • Thickness, density
  • Micro X-ray Fluorescence (μXRF)
    • Polycrystalline thin film, e. g. HfO2 on product wafers
    • Composition and film thickness
    • Spot down to 50 μm in diameter
  • Grazing Incidence Diffraction (GID)
    • Polycrystalline thin film
    • Identification of crystalline phases, crystallite size

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Jordan Valley Semiconductors

QC3 Fast HRXRD Metrology Tool

The QC3 High-Resolution X-Ray Diffractometer (HRXRD) from Jordan Valley is a true leapfrog technology over the existing HRXRD technology within the market. The QC3 boasts more than an order-of-magnitude improvement in performance compared to other HRXRD systems, with scans taking seconds rather than minutes or even hours. This provides LED manufacturers a dramatic improvement in quality control of LED devices, with more wafers and higher sampling within wafers possible.

The development and market launch of QC3 demonstrates the success of JVS' 2008 acquisition of Bede's HRXRD and compound semi technology. Furthermore, it reinforces JVS management's ability to apply its business model and expertise in providing the semiconductor market with enabling, high-throughput systems with low cost-of-ownership, achieving market dominance with a valued, customer-preferred product.

Features and benefits:

Productivity and Precision: The QC3 has a dedicated and optimised HRXRD system for LED quality control. As a result of its high intensity, the system gives higher precision and throughput compared to other HRXRD systems.

Automation: The system operates with fully-automated alignment, measurement and analysis of wafers, conducting batch wafer measurements with optional robot or multi-sample plates. The multi-sample plates allow up to 20 wafers to be loaded into the system for measurement without requiring a robot. For the automated analysis of the data spectra, the QC3 uses tried and trusted industry-leading RADS software for automated analysis which will automatically analyse the collected data and report the results for specific wafers, batches, chambers. This reporting can be extended to host reporting if required.

Economy: QC3 incorporates XRGProtect™, to ensure the tube lifetime is maximised. It also has an Eco-mode; ensuring system power consumption is reduced when there is no measurement being performed.

Simplicity and Reliability: The system is so reliable and easy to use, that no expert is required to operate the system.

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Device Design and Packaging Award

New 50A Silicon Carbide (SiC devices)

Cree's latest technology breakthrough enables 50 Amp Silicon Carbide (SiC power devices) bringing efficiency and cost savings to a broader range of high-power applications. Cree's new family of 50A SiC devices can reduce the cost of power electronic systems while providing improved energy efficiency.

What industry challenge does this address?

These new 50A SiC devices allow a new generation of power systems with record-setting energy efficiency and lower cost of ownership than with conventional technologies.

How does it solve the problem?

The new devices available in die form are designed for high-power modules for applications such as solar power inverters uninterruptible power supply (UPS) equipment and motor drives. Using the Cree® SiC 50A devices power electronics engineers can set new standards for system cost of ownership through reduced size lower-cost bill of materials (BOM) and improved efficiency. The larger die extends the benefits realised with Cree's 20 Amp SiC MOSFETs to power applications up to 500 kW making it possible to replace less capable conventional silicon IGBTs in high-power high-voltage applications.

These new 50A SiC devices which also include a 1200V Z-FET SiC MOSFET and three Z-Rec® SiC Schottky diodes will enable a new generation of power systems with record-setting energy efficiency and lower cost of ownership than with conventional technologies. The new devices available in die form are designed for high-power modules for applications such as solar power inverters uninterruptible power supply (UPS) equipment and motor drives. Using the Cree® SiC 50A devices, power electronics engineers can set new standards for system cost of ownership through reduced size lower-cost bill of materials (BOM) and improved efficiency.

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Radiation Hardened Isolated DC/DC Converters (SA50-120)

Microsemi's SA50-120 is a family of radiation-hardened surface mount technology packaged 120 volt input 50 watt output fully isolated DC-DC converters. This family dramatically improves system weight efficiency and reliability while reducing cost. The high-reliability converter is available with single dual and triple outputs which provide military and commercial satellites with continuous protection against naturally occurring "total dose" and "single event" ionised radiation which can negatively impact system performance. In addition to improving quality by leveraging automated and repeatable surface mount technology processes the SA50-120 series allows designers to maximise board real estate resulting in a similar package and weight density to hybrid alternatives. Microsemi's new DC-DC converters feature a fully isolated power supply capable of driving high-reliability point-of-load (POL) converters used to "step down" power to devices such as customisable system-on-chip (cSoC) solutions and field programmable gate arrays. Additional features include a fully isolated synchronisation scheme to manage system noise spectra.

What industry challenge does this address?

Existing satellites use two stages of regulation: Solar panel voltage (approximately 120 volts) is switched with an isolated DC to DC converter to 28 volts at typically 67-75% efficiency. The 28 volt bus is then switched to the target voltage of 5 /- 12 volts by an isolated DC to DC converter with a typical efficiency of 67-75%. Nearly HALF of the power is lost. Further the historical use of low efficiency radiation hardened hybrid devices have lead times of up to 38 weeks and have been fraught with delivery delays of up to two years.

How does it solve the problem?

The SA50-120 DC to DC converter eliminates the intermediate voltage of 28 volts by directly converting from the solar panel voltage to the target voltage at an astounding 86% efficiency. An entire regulation block is eliminated dramatically reducing the weight of the overall power system increasing the reliability by using fewer components and reducing cost. By using radiation hardened hermetically sealed SMT devices procurement and assembly time is reduced to typically 20 weeks.

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Osram Opto Semiconductors

Direct Emitting Green Laser Diodes

In 2012, Osram Opto Semiconductors launched its first direct green diode lasers. The two compact laser diodes have an optical output of 30 and 50 milliwatts and a particularly high beam quality so they represent a milestone in the development of miniature projectors for mobile devices such as smartphones and cameras. Projection units for laser shows, point lasers and line lasers will also benefit from the new technology.

Direct green diode lasers are an important step toward powerful pico projectors. It means that the old laborious way of producing green light by doubling the frequency of infrared laser is no longer needed. The new technology enables high colour rendering and excellent contrast to be achieved. The wavelength of the new PL 520 laser diode of 515-530 nm produces precisely the right green for projection applications. Its optical output is 50 mW and its efficiency is typically 5-6 % at present. The PL 515 offers an output of 30 mW in a wavelength range of 510 to 530 nm. With a package diameter of only 3.8 mm the laser diodes enable the dimensions of projection units to be reduced considerably.

The lasers have a very high beam quality – in other words an extremely narrow beam that spreads out only slightly thanks to its small divergence angle. In the case of pico projectors, which project the laser light with a MEMS mirror (micro-electromechanical system) without any other optics, the size of the light point determines the image resolution. The beam quality is particularly important. Both laser diodes operate in single mode, which means they emit only a single transverse oscillation mode.

Direct emitting lasers can be better modulated than other laser types, such as frequency-doubled infrared lasers. This is an important property for MEMS-based projectors in which the colour components per pixel result from the emission time of the laser diode. There is also no need to adjust the focus of the projection image. The image is always sharp, even on curved surfaces.

Laser shows, point lasers and line lasers

The single mode lasers open up new possibilities as light sources for laser shows. Their high beam quality enables extremely fine structures to be displayed even over large distances. The projectors also benefit from the high thermal stability and small size of the lasers.

Green diode lasers are also ideal as point or line lasers for measuring distances for example. The human eye is most sensitive in the green spectrum so they offer another important advantage over red laser light. For the same laser output, and therefore the same laser safety class, green light is perceived more easily by the eye than the red light that is usually used. This means that distance meters, such as those used by builders, can be used over larger distances.

By launching one of the first direct emitting green laser diodes Osram Opto Semiconductors is underlining its position in lasers based on indium gallium nitride. The green laser is the result of years of intensive development work in Regensburg. It has been developed as part of the MOLAS project sponsored by the German Ministry for Education and Research and involving technologies for ultra-compact and mobile laser projection systems. In 2010, researchers at the company received the Karl-Heinz-Beckurts Award for development work on the green laser.

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III-Nitride Varactors with Capacitively-Coupled Contacts – new technology platform for RF electron

SETi has developed novel technology platform for monolithic microwave integrated circuits using capacitively coupled contacts (C3 varactors over III-Nitride heterostructures). Novel device type offers simple and robust fully planar alignment- and anneal-free fabrication technology. At 18 GHz the fabricated C3 microwave switches exhibit record low 0.8 dB loss and high 27.5 dB isolation. C3 power limiters offer insertion loss in the range 0.2 – 0.7 dB and wide range of limiting powers 17 – 40 dBm. Novel C3 devices demonstrate full compatibility with III-Nitride electronics and have a great potential for high-performance MMICs.

The C3 varactor consists of two electrodes deposited on top of AlN/GaN/InN heterostructures. Conducting channels in the heterostructures with record high 2D electron gas density (up to 1.5x1013 cm-2) and high electron mobility (up to 2500 cm2)/(V-s) form metal-like conducting plates. The electrodes form capacitively-coupled contacts with 2DEG channel with low impedance at RF frequencies typically above 2 GHz. The C3 varactor can be turned off by applying the voltage across any of its contacts exceeding the pinch-off voltage. C3 varactor does not consume significant DC bias current in addition it offers several important advantages as an RF device: (1) it has no gate so the total channel length is more than two times smaller than in HFET with the same source – gate and gate-drain spacing and hence about the same breakdown voltage (2) it has no ohmic contacts this eliminates annealing the need to align the gate and further increases the breakdown voltage due to lower edge roughness (3) it can be controlled using either positive or negative bias polarity(4) provides a built-in DC block.

What industry challenge does this address?

Modern RF systems require low loss high switching power high linearity low power consumption and broad range of operating temperatures. None of the existing RF devices simultaneously meets these requirements. PIN-diodes require at least 20 mA forward bias current to be turned on they also need bias filters with bulky high-precision and expensive inductors. MEMS are vulnerable to hot switching their switching times are limited to a few microseconds and many MEMS subtypes require high operating voltage and vacuumed packaging. Si MOSFETs and GaAs HEMTs suffer from low breakdown voltages and cannot achieve the required linearity levels.

How does it solve the problem?

The III-Nitride C3 varactor design meets all requirements mentioned above for RF control applications. C3 varactor offers high-yield simple and robust anneal-free alignment-free fabrication technology fully compatible with Power Amplifiers and the other MMICs.

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Innovation Award

Brolis Semiconductors

Development of novel GaSb based optoelectronics

Brolis Semiconductors develops novel optoelectronic components and materials based on GaSb material platform using their key knowledge of molecular beam epitaxial growth of very complex compounds. The company founders have demonstrated a number of first-of-a-kind GaSb type-I lasers operating at room temperature at wavelengths above 3400 nm. The team has established a state-of-the-art MBE and laser diode facility in order to commercialise the technology and bring the beyond-state-of-the-art devices to market already next year.

What industry challenge does this address?

Brolis Semiconductors develops technology for devices for wavelength range 1800 - 4000 nm which lacks reliable compact laser sources operating in continuous wave at room-temperature. Their MBE technology offers unique opportunities for development of new generation thermal imaging photo-voltaic and ultra-high-speed and low power consumption technologies based on antimonides.

How does it solve the problem?

The Brolis technology brings the availability of ultra-compact power efficient electrically pumped room-temperature operating laser diodes in the 1800 nm - 4000 nm wavelength range for numerous applications in defence industrial process monitoring medicine and research. The epitaxy service provides unmatched quality antimonide and arsenide epitaxial wafers for thermal imaging TPV CPV and new generation HEMT and HBT applications.

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EPISTAR LAB

Warm White High Voltage Chipset

With its outstanding efficacy, higher CRI, and competitive lm/$, the solution of direct red platform is widely used in warm white application. In 2012 EPISTAR LAB successfully achieved the warm white efficacy of 216 lm/W, at an operating current of 5 mA and CRI of 87 Ra at CCT of 2700K. Under a typical driving current of 15mA (or about 1 W operation equivalent), the luminous efficacy of 197 lm/W was achieved.

EPISTAR LAB adopts several technologies in high voltage chips, such as the novel substrate transfer process, lower MQW light absorption, fine structure for increasing the photon extraction efficiency, improvement on the current spreading uniformity, and improved MQW structure with excellent IQE and lower forward voltage.

The superior performance warm white HV chipset is suitable for retrofit, professional lighting, and luminaires applications. EPISTAR continue to develop more advanced technologies to enhance product performances and work closely with downstream customers to provide better LED lighting solutions to the market.

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TriConnect™ 802.11ac Wi-Fi Solution for Mobile Devices

The TQP6M9017 is the industry's first 802.11ac Wi-Fi RF module for next-generation mobile devices. In addition to supporting three to four times faster download speeds for video streaming and other multimedia applications, the high-performance WLAN module improves the wireless experience by enabling connectivity from greater distances it allows nearly 60% further range than its award-winning predecessor thanks to advances in output power technology.

What industry challenge does this address?

As demand for Wi-Fi proliferates worldwide consumers have developed an ever-growing appetite for faster mobile data rates to support video streaming and other multimedia applications -- at faster rates than current-generation 802.11n Wi-Fi. In addition consumers want Wi-Fi from greater distances.

How does it solve the problem?

With data rates up to 1.3 gigabits per second the new IEEE 802.11ac standard will deliver transfer rates three to four times faster than current-generation 802.11n Wi-Fi. In addition to supporting faster download speeds TriQuints TriConnect™ TQP6M9017 high-performance WLAN module improves the wireless experience by enabling connectivity from greater distances it allows nearly 60% further range than its award-winning predecessor thanks to advances in output power technology.

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Auratus Deposition Enhancement Methodology

Auratus is a proprietary optimisation methodology for lift-off electron beam evaporative coating that incorporates patent pending technology to achieve unprecedented levels of uniformity precision and collection efficiency. Auratus enables Temescal customers to coat wafers with near perfect uniformity resulting in more consistent better quality products and fewer defects. Temescals Auratus methodology also has the capability to increase the effective deposition rate enabling customers to increase throughput. Temescal's Auratus process enhancement methodology is available on select Temescal systems. Temescal the expert in metallization systems for the processing of compound semiconductor based substrates provides the finest production evaporation systems available. Temescal systems provide controlled multi-layer coatings of materials such as Ti Pt Au Pd Ag Ni Al Cr Cu Mo Sn SiO2 and ITO with highly repeatable guaranteed uniformity and performance metrics. For over a decade Temescal has been dedicated to mapping and better understanding the dynamics of the flux cloud. Through extensive testing and research we have collected hundreds of vapour cloud maps and used these maps to advance and automate the process of lift-off uniformity mask design.

What industry challenge does this address?

At the heart of every electron beam evaporation system is a vapour cloud a unique repeatable flux distribution characteristic of radiation from a point source. But these flux clouds vary based on a variety of factors in the deposition process — like deposition material deposition power crucible size the use of a crucible liner and beam spot focus. With precision lift-off coating on a conventional box coater an inefficient optimisation to the flux cloud typically results in an excessive use of process metals. Auratus solves the problem of optimizing processes to the vapour cloud improving efficiency and reducing waste.

How does it solve the problem?

Auratus helps Temescal customers efficiently maximise the uniformity and throughput of their deposition process. By ensuring that wafers coating is managed with an optimal relationship of the wafers to the vapour cloud, uniform deposition can take place with less wasted material. Also by eliminating opportunities for waste Temescal customers are able to benefit from even greater improvements in process efficiency.

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R & D Award

New Generation 50V GaN HEMT Technology

Cree has a range of 50V GaN HEMT devices which offer a significant reduction in the energy needed to power cellular networks. Radio base station power amplifiers have demonstrated performance improvements of more than 20 percent over incumbent technology at 2.6 GHz operating under the latest 4G LTE signals. This increased power amplifier efficiency could save an estimated 10 TWh per year the equivalent power output of two nuclear power plants.

What industry challenge does this address?

The world's cellular network is estimated to consume more than 100TWh of electricity per year: (approximate value of $12 Billion US Dollars) and 50-80 percent of the networks' power is consumed by the systems' power amplifiers and feed infrastructure.

How does it solve the problem?

Cree's new 50V GaN HEMT products can have a large impact in not only helping cellular network operators and OEMs reduce operational and capital expenses but also in reducing global energy consumption.

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Near Junction Thermal Transport Program

The $2.7 million Near Junction Thermal Transport (NJTT) program funded by the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) seeks to triple the power handling performance of high power gallium nitride (GaN) transistors.

Success will enable maximum exploitation of the extremely high power capabilities of GaN material. Due to significantly superior power performance per unit area of GaN transistors compared to the conventional GaAs transistors, much smaller but higher power GaN monolithic microwave integrated circuits (MMICs) are gradually replacing GaAs MMICs in systems. But the RF power utilisation in GaN is greatly limited due to the thermal issues associated with the high power densities. GaN transistors have been demonstrated with output power capabilities in excess of 40 W/mm.

But in reality, today's best GaN transistor-based products for commercial or defence applications are utilising only 5 to 7 W/mm to keep device junction temperatures below 200 °C. That comes at a cost of relatively high gate-to-gate pitch, resulting in large chip size. TriQuint's NJTT research effort is focused on bringing highly efficient heat spreading material very close to the device junction where temperatures peak.

TriQuint's NJTT approach is based on developing GaN transistors on polycrystalline diamond substrates prepared by chemical vapour deposition (CVD). The CVD diamond substrate shows over five times better thermal conductivity than standard SiC. TriQuint extracts less than 1 µm thick active AlGaN/GaN heterostructure layers originally grown on Si substrates and attaches them to 100 µm thick CVD diamond substrates using an advanced wafer bonding technique. This enables the best known thermal spreader material to be placed very close to the device junction. TriQuint uses a proven AlGaN/GaN heterostructure to achieve 6 W/mm of RF power comparable to today's standard GaN devices.

The thermal simulations predict that TriQuint can achieve 3x power handling goal for the output power level, which can enable reduction of today's active device size by one third, or alternately allow today's standard unit cell devices to operate at significantly lower junction temperatures. TriQuint is using extensive epitaxial characterization to ensure device quality, material and thermal modelling and micro-Raman thermography to verify results.

What industry challenge does this address?

A key challenge is to prepare GaN-on-Diamond wafers for 100mm manufacturing lines while maintaining the thermal boundary resistance at the GaN and diamond interface below a critical level while keeping the GaN surface quality suitable for good RF performance. This is being achieved through innovative methods of lifting AlGaN/GaN epitaxial layers from proven high RF performance GaN-on-Si wafers, identifying / eliminating poor thermal conductivity layers of the AlGaN/GaN films, and preparing high thermal conductivity diamond substrates using chemical vapour deposition (CVD); other challenges include attaching AlGaN/GaN films to the diamond substrates by precisely controlled adhesive bonding and developing necessary new processes to fabricate high performance devices and circuits in GaN-on-Diamond material.

How does it solve the problem?

Thermal simulations performed before TriQuint began the NJTT program clearly indicated that 3x or greater power handling improvements of GaN-on-Diamond transistors could be achieved through this approach. During the course of the program, TriQuint has shown improvement of thermal boundary resistance of the material and negligible change in the electronic properties of the AlGaN/GaN heterostructure before and after the epitaxial transfer on diamond substrate.

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High Efficiency Germicidal UV LEDs

Through a DARPA program (CMUVT): Compact Mid Ultraviolet Technology and with assistance from Army Research Labs Sensor Electronic Technology Inc. (SETi) has performed a research program that has led to dramatic improvements in performance of UV LEDs operating in the germicidal wavelength range. SETi is the world leader in the development and commercialization of Deep UV LEDs (LEDs shorter than 365nm). SETi's product portfolio covers the entire wavelength range from 240nm to 365nm and includes LED's, LED lamps, LED light sources and fully integrated custom solutions. SET's, Deep UV LEDs were first introduced into the market in 2004 following an earlier DARPA development and for which SETi was recognised by DARPA in their 50 year anniversary Success Stories. Over the past 8 years SETi has made many technological improvements to its LEDs but has focused much of its attention to improving reproducibility and reliability for customers in highly demanding markets including scientific instrumentation, life sciences, military and space exploration. In this time SETi has obtained conformance with ISO9001 AS9100 and has been space flight qualified. Over the years the efficiency of these devices has seen some modest improvements and commercially available LEDs operate at 1-2% wall-plug efficiency (WPE). However the result of this current R&D effort has to date seen an increase in WPE to over 8%.

What industry challenge does this address?

Based in the AlGaN materials system Deep UV LEDs often suffer from extremely low WPE due to high dislocation densities in the epi low internal quantum efficiency (IQE) low injection efficiency and poor extraction efficiency. SETi has previously solved these issues to a point where Deep UV LEDs can be commercialised however this new R&D program takes Deep UV LED performance to a new level.

How does it solve the problem?

Improvements of the internal quantum efficiency by reduction of the threading dislocation density and of the light extraction by using UV transparent p-type contact layer UV reflecting ohmic contact and chip encapsulation with optimised shape and refractive index allowed us to obtain the external quantum efficiency of 10.4% at 20mA CW current with the output power up to 9.3 mW at 278nm for AlGaN based deep ultraviolet light-emitting diodes grown on sapphire substrates.

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Key Dates 2016/2017

Nominations open 25th November 2016
Nominations close 9th January 2017
Shortlist announced 16th January 2017
Voting opens 16th January 2017
Voting closes 21st February 2017
Winners informed 21st February 2017
Awards ceremony 7th March 2017

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