SHORTLIST 2016

Substrates & Materials Award

ALLOS is a technology engineering and licensing company helping clients from the semiconductor industry globally master GaN-on-Si technology and unleash its benefits. ALLOS provides licences to its technology know-how and patents as well as transferring the technology to its customers. In addition ALLOS delivers customer specific solutions as well as consulting for next generation GaN-on-Si development challenges.

The driving force behind ALLOS Semiconductors is the growing demand for technology to grow gallium nitride on silicon substrates (GaN-on-Si). An increasing number of LED and power semiconductor companies want to master the technology to grow 150 and 200 mm GaN-on-Si wafers successfully themselves to supply cost-effective high-quality GaN devices processed in standard silicon fabs.

There are tremendous technological challenges to make GaN-on-Si happen. For ALLOS' customers the opportunity is to reduce not only cost and time-to-market but also the development risk by building their effort on ALLOS' proven GaN-on-Si platform and know-how. This is the key value proposition of ALLOS.

AMMONO is a global supplier of truly bulk Gallium Nitride (GaN) manufacturing.

Technological breakthroughs in ammonothermal technology have resulted in the production of up to 2-inch diameter high quality bulk C-plane GaN substrates as well as non-polar M-plane, A-plane and semi-polar GaN wafers. Those products are in the focus of Light Emitting Diodes, optoelectronics devices such as green and blue lasers and High Electron Mobility Transistors.

The Ammono-GaN substrates are strain free, their crystal lattice is extremely flat and their dislocation density is two orders of magnitude lower than for those produced using other technologies. The perfect quality of Ammono-GaN is also emphasized by very high electrical carrier concentration. Leading to a substantial reduction of energy consumption innovative AMMONO products are seen as enablers for breakthroughs in high-power electronic and solid state lighting.

Imec's R&D program GaN-on-Si was launched to develop GaN technology towards industrialization. It brings companies in MOCVD growth and metrology equipment, substrate suppliers and IDMs together to push today’s GaN-on-Si technology to a higher level of maturity and reliability, and to explore new concepts for next generation GaN technology.

In 2015, breakthrough results have been obtained for dispersion-free buffers on 200mm diameter substrates. Imec investigated three types of buffers and individually optimized them for forward and reverse leakage from 25oC to 150oC, crystal quality and bow control. For the optimization of the dispersion imec systematically used extensive trap spectroscopy to identify the physical nature and spatial location of the traps in the complex buffers. Imec selected the 200mm GaN-on-Si buffers by qualifying the buffers for large area high-performance E-mode HEMTs and low-leakage/low turn-on voltage Schottky diodes in our 200mm Au-free and CMOS tool compatible GaN platform process. To bring the technology to a higher level of technology readiness, imec shares industrial aspects such as cost of ownership, process uniformity and repeatability, statistical process control and yield, and substrate and device qualification from 25oC to 150oC with our partners.

While dedicated to continuously improve today’s GaN-on-Si technology, imec also prepares for next generation GaN technology. Based on its track record in GaN epitaxy for large diameter wafers, and the strong involvement of its industrial partners in MOCVD equipment and substrate suppliers, imec is well placed to identify the limitations and boundaries of the present GaN-on-Si technology, and to mitigate the inherent problems with the mismatch in thermal expansion coefficient between the silicon substrate and the GaN buffers, lattice mismatch and stress management. Next to the development and optimization of GaN buffers on top of engineered substrates and qualification on the power device level, engineering aspects like contamination control, substrate labelling and robot handling in the processing tools are addressed.

Imec

 

Metrology Award

SICA88, is the latest model of Lasertec’ SiC wafer inspection and review systems. Featuring both surface and photoluminescence (PL) inspection capabilities in one body, SICA88 enables customers to concurrently inspect and analyse surface defects as well as crystallographic defects.

SICA 88 is an extremely high speed concurrent surface and photoluminescence inspection with a high resolution review capability and an accurate "on the fly" classification based on the machine learning SiC power devices are already being used in such applications as air conditioners, solar cells and railway cars and are beginning to capture additional markets. Expectations are high that they will be widely used on electric vehicles. Producing SiC power devices is technically demanding, however. Various problems remain unsolved, including crystallographic defects that occur in production process. Quality control and cost reduction are therefore posing major challenges. SiC wafer manufacturers find it necessary to enhance and maintain wafer quality while SiC device manufacturers are expected to keep higher yields and reduce production cost. SICA is an inspection tool that is designed to help overcome these challenges. Lasertec launched SICA61 in 2009 for R&D use and SICA6X in 2011 for production use.

The new platform combines the PL inspection capability with the confocal DIC optics used in the previous generation SICA models for surface inspection. It now offers simultaneous detection and classification of not only scratches and Epi defects on wafer surface but also crystallographic defects such as basal plane dislocations (BPD) and stacking faults (SF) inside Epi layers, thereby assisting the detection and analysis of defects that cause device malfunctions. The throughput of SICA88 is twice as high as that of SICA6X and, furthermore, BPD inspection is possible without compromising the throughput performance. One of the best ways to utilize SICA88 is to use it as a process monitor in wafer production, Epi process and device-making process for assisting root cause analysis. It also offers a wafer grading capability that helps achieve process cost reductions and higher device yields. What challenge does this product address? Quick inspection of the surface and inside Epi-layer and allowing for immediate root cause analysis How does the product? By capturing the surface defects, inner Epi-layer dislocation, and defect images concurrently

Lasertec

Modern electronics use a wide range of semiconductor materials. Cutting edge devices, such as transistors, solar cells and light emitting diodes, push materials properties to their limits, and require extremely homogeneous source materials.

Raman spectroscopy is a tool designed for studying semiconductors. It is simple to operate yet delivers performance and reliable results, for even the most challenging experiments. Customers can produce both rich, detailed, chemical images and highly specific data from discrete points.

The highly efficient optical design gives the best Raman data, from minute traces of material and large volumes. This is used for running measurements such as:

  • time series: monitor how your sample is altering with time
  • temperature ramps: use a hot/cold cell to see phase changes line scans: profile your sample, both across the surface, or into its depth
  • area mapping: generate images, either horizontally at fixed focus, following the surface topography, or from vertical slices volume scans: produce 3D views of your transparent sample's internal structure
  • transmission mapping: analyse large volumes of material and produce depth-averaged 2D images of bulk material homogeneity
  • specialist measurements: trigger data collection from your own equipment (such as a control system on a synchrotron beamline)

 

High-volume Manufacturing Award

The AIX G5 C is a complete solution addressing the epitaxy production needs of the GaN-on-Si LED and power device industry. In a bridge 8x150 mm & 5x200 mm configuration it focusses on the future’s most relevant wafer diameters for the production of blue LEDs and GaN Power HEMTs.

The product is resolving the common challenges of high-yield high-quality and high-throughput production of AlGaN-based material on large area Si (111 wafers in high volume manufacturing through two key innovations:

  1. For the first time a MOCVD batch system is equipped with a fully automated wafer cassette-to-cassette loader. This tool simplifies the handling of large Si wafers in a fab environment and warrants production at highest yields. The wafers are loaded in 150 or 200 mm cassettes into a vacuum elevation chamber. On a customized separation station the wafer and the individual wafer carrier are combined and afterwards moved into the MOCVD chamber which is kept ready for process at high temperature. The innovative wafer loading sequence enables gross throughput advantage of up to 33 percent for a standard three hours HEMT process cycle.

  2. A thermally activated gas etch of the MOCVD chamber was developed to fully remove all deposits from the inner reactor chamber parts. This etching cycle after a process run quickly restores the original reactor conditions which is instrument for highest process reproducibility and quality. Any cross contamination of the Si surface during the start of the process is eliminated leading to a defect free wafer bevel and meeting the strict defect requirements of large area chips. The complete process flow is managed through a new user Interface enabling for the first time a truly fully automated production.

LED and Power HEMT device manufacturers are searching for solutions to incorporate a complex MOCVD technology into standard CMOS lines for 150 and 200 mm manufacturing. Up to today the "human factor" had a strong influence on the performance of MOCVD related technology. Manual interaction with the system in process chamber maintenance actions and the manual loading of the wafers expose risks to system performance reproducibility epi-defects and epi-wafer level product yield. By introducing full automation and a full chamber reset by in-situ cleaning to the MOCVD process technology the "human" factor is reduced to a minimum.

SkyOne® Mini, is a derivative of the SkyOne® platform, specifically addressing the growing demand for value and performance oriented solutions in the LTE market by delivering the full functionality of the highly integrated SkyOne® devices but at a reduced cost and size.

SkyOne® Mini devices support multiple chipsets without the need to change the front-end, creating a simple, flexible approach that delivers significant cost and time to market advantages."

SKY78070, SKY78071 and SKY78072 SKY78070, SKY78071 and SKY78072 are hybrid, multimode multiband front-end modules (FEMs) that support 2.5G and 3G/4G handsets and operate efficiently in GSM, GPRS, EDGE, TD-SCDMA, WCDMA, HSPA and LTE modes.

  • The SKY78070 contains four integrated duplexers for Bands 1, 2, 5 and 8 plus a SP16T switch for non-carrier aggregation applications.
  • The SKY78071 contains five integrated duplexers for Bands 1, 2, 4, 5 and 8 plus a DP18T switch for high/low and medium/low carrier aggregation applications.
  • The SKY78072 contains four integrated duplexers for Bands 1, 2, 5 and 8 plus a DP18T switch for high/low and medium/low carrier aggregation applications.

The SKY78070, SKY78071, and SKY78072 FEMs consist of a GSM800/EGSM900 PA block, a DCS1800/PCS1900 PA block, separate WCDMA blocks operating in the low and mid- bands, duplexers for bands 1, 2, 5 and 8, a logic control block for multiple power control levels, and band enable functions in both cellular and UMTS. The table on the reverse side shows features for 2.5G, 3G and 4G.

 

Device Design and Packaging Award

Silicon has long been the semiconductor of choice for high-voltage power electronics applications. Wide bandgap semiconductors such as SiC GaN have begun to attract attention because they are projected to have much better performance than silicon. It has been shown that TCAD simulation can save time and money since it allows process and device engineers to virtually manufacture any type of devices before manufacturing them. TCAD simulation of wide bandgap compound semiconductors is a non-trivial task requiring specialized tools. Silvaco’s Victory Process and Victory Device tools have been used and proven in a large number of commercial compound semiconductor deployments

Silvaco’s Victory Process and Victory Device tools: • Handle large size of structure high aspect ratio and devices that are intrinsically 3D • Handle lattice heating and high breakdown voltage • Anisotropic physical models and SiC/GaN specific models such as: • Monte Carlo implantation • Impurity-concentration-dependant mobility • Temperature-dependent saturated velocity • Anisotropic mobility • Anisotropic impact ionization • Carrier-carrier scattering • Schottky parabolic field emission model • Bulk and interface state model

MIT spinout Cambridge Electronics Inc. (CEI) has developed a line of GaN transistors and power electronic circuits that could cut energy usage in data centres, electric cars, and consumer devices by 10 to 20 percent worldwide by 2025.

Power electronics is a ubiquitous technology used to convert electricity to higher or lower voltages and different currents - such as in a laptop’s power adapter, or in electric substations that convert voltages and distribute electricity to consumers. Many of these power-electronics systems rely on silicon transistors that switch on and off to regulate voltage but, due to speed and resistance constraints, waste energy as heat.

CEI’s GaN transistors have at least one-tenth the resistance of such silicon-based transistors, according to the company. This allows for much higher energy-efficiency, and orders-of-magnitude faster switching frequency - meaning power-electronics systems with these components can be made much smaller. CEI is using its transistors to enable power electronics that will make data centres less energy-intensive, electric cars cheaper and more powerful, and laptop power adapters one- third the size - or even small enough to fit inside the computer itself.

While GaN transistors have several benefits over silicon, safety drawbacks and expensive manufacturing methods have largely kept them off the market. But MIT researchers managed to overcome these issues through design innovations made in the late 2000s.

Power transistors are designed to flow high currents when on, and to block high voltages when off. Should the circuit break or fail, the transistors must default to the "off" position to cut the current to avoid short circuits and other issues - an important feature of silicon power transistors.

But GaN transistors are typically "normally on" - meaning, by default, they’ll always allow a flow of current, which has historically been difficult to correct. Using resources in MIT’s Microsystems Technology Laboratory, researchers - supported by Department of Defence and DOE grants - developed GaN transistors that were "normally off" by modifying the structure of the material.

To make traditional GaN transistors, scientists grow a thin layer of GaN on top of a substrate. The MIT researchers layered different materials with disparate compositions in their GaN transistors. Finding the precise mix allowed a new kind of GaN transistors that go to the off position by default.

To drop costs, the MIT researchers - at the Institute and, later, with the company - developed new fabrication technologies, or "process recipes," This involved, among other things, switching out gold metals used in manufacturing GaN devices for metals that were compatible with silicon fabrication, and developing ways to deposit GaN on large wafers used by silicon foundries.

Last year, Cree, Inc introduced its latest breakthrough in SiC power device technology: the industry’s first 900-V MOSFET platform. Optimized for high-frequency power-electronics applications, including renewable-energy inverters, electric-vehicle charging systems, and three-phase industrial power supplies, the 900-V platform enables smaller and higher-efficiency next-generation power conversion systems at cost parity with silicon-based solutions.

Built on Cree’s SiC planar technology, the 900-V MOSFET platform expands the product portfolio to address design challenges common to new and evolving application segments in which a higher DC-link-voltage is desirable. The lead product (C3M0065090J) features the lowest on-resistance rating (65 mΩ) of any 900-V MOSFET device currently available on the market. <,/

In addition to the industry-standard TO247-3 and TO220-3 packages, the device is also offered in a low-impedance D2Pak-7L surface-mount package with a Kelvin connection to help minimize gate ringing.

Existing 900-V silicon MOSFETs have severe limitations for high-frequency switching circuits due to extremely high switching losses and poor internal body diodes. Further limiting the use of silicon MOSFETs is the RDS(ON) that increases three times over temperature, which causes thermal issues and significant derating. Alternately, Cree’s 900-V MOSFET technology delivers low RDS(ON) at higher temperatures, enabling a significant size reduction of the thermal-management system.

The C3M0065090J is rated at 900 V/32 A, with an RDS(ON) of 65 mΩ at 25° C. At higher temperature operation (TJ = 150° C), the RDS(ON) is just 90 mΩ.

Cree

 

Innovation Award

SensAline tunable infrared laser is a tunable laser for the most demanding molecular spectroscopy applications. The product features Brolis proprietary GaSb type-I ultra-broadband gain-chip embedded in an external cavity configuration. Such solution provides 20 mW CW output in single-TE00 mode and narrow linewidth ( 1 MHz operation with typical current (fast tuning range of ~ 20-30 GHz or 0.1 nm/K temperature tuning (slow. SensAline concept allows accessing any line within the 1800 nm – 2500 nm wavelength range much additional cost burden.

Over 120 nm of bandwidth can be covered by single gain chip thus the final emission wavelength can be pre-set by grating position within 0.1 nm accuracy according to customer’s demand. Such a feature is extremely attractive as accessing of any wavelengths within the bandwidth of the gain chip does not require additional epitaxy and wafer fabrication procedure which are expensive and time consuming. With SensAline concept we offer access to the entire 1800 nm-2500 nm spectral band using only 6-7 gain-chips. For comparison a standard DFB technology would require several 10s if not hundred different epitaxial structures to access the same band. In addition DFBs have inherent limitation to broader linewidth ( typ. 1 MHz and lower output power ( few mW. This makes SensAline an extremely versatile cost-effective easily customizable and high-performance spectroscopy product for molecular spectroscopy applications in the environmental medical industrial and defence application fields.

SensAline allows access to the 1800 nm-2500 nm band with unmatched performance and cost-effectiveness unavailable before. This product sets a new performance level with up to 20 mW of CW power at any wavelength within the band narrow linewidth ( 1 MHz where ~ 100 kHz is typical and stable output ( multiple 10s of hour drift-free operation. Wavelength selection is now made simple and does not require expensive NRE’s or multiple wafer growth. Output beam is collimated or fiber-coupled according to customer’s demand.

RF Fusion™ provides OEMs with a complete RF Front End (RFFE) solution that combines best-in-class power amplifier efficiency, best-in-class filtering and duplexing, and best-in-class cellular switching to deliver industry-leading performance. The RF Fusion™ family of products now includes an integration option that offers a single placement and a new solution that includes all major transmit and receive RF functionality across high, medium and low bands. As an all-in-one chip, RF Fusion™ significantly reduces time to market for today’s mobile providers.

Mobile devices connect us to the people, places and things we care about most. To create these amazing devices, manufacturers deal with increasingly complex RF issues in creating mobile devices: a multitude of form factors, a dramatic rise in demand for broadband data and a perpetual number of frequency bands, making global roaming and 4G, and soon 5G a challenge. Consumers want better screens and features, while manufacturers are urged to reduce heat and battery consumption at a lower cost and quicker timeline.

RF Fusion™ combines power amplification, cellular switching and filtering into a single integrated chip, the size of a few grains of rice. This all-in-one chip contains core transmit and receive RF functionality linking transceiver to antenna, all pre-tuned and incorporated with the latest average power tracking, envelope tracking and carrier aggregation technologies to help manufacturers meet optimal RF performance requirements. With its ultra-small size, RF Fusion™ also minimizes circuit board area requirements while reducing routing complexity, so manufacturers can meet demand for smaller devices. Add global compatibility for today’s phones and tablets, and RF Fusion™ is all great things, in a small package.

Quantum Colours conversion technology from Osram Opto Semiconductors aims to set new standards in LED backlighting for TV displays as it offers much better coverage of the colour space, significant cost savings compared with conventional quantum dot sheets, and zero cadmium.

For many years leading manufacturers of televisions have been demanding an ever broader color space. The TV standard is once again moving to a larger colour triangle with Ultra HD. Quantum Colors was developed for precisely this standard. Initial customer projects are in progress, and this Osram technology is scheduled for backlighting LEDs for the mass market by the end of 2016.

Quantum Colours is based on a green quantum converter which is combined with red phosphor on a blue chip. The technology was developed in part in the SSL4EU and Hi-Q-LED projects funded by the EU and the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and does not require any cadmium. This results in numerous advantages over quantum dot sheets which have been used up to now for high-quality colour rendering in TV backlighting. Quantum Colours offers superior coverage of the colour space due to a narrow green peak with a full width at half maximum (FWHM) of only 30 nm. Colour space standards such as DCI can be covered 100 percent and REC2020 more than 80 percent. Osram technology does not require the system or any other components to be adapted. This simplifies the production processes and the entire system.

Compared with quantum dot sheet solutions, which are based on semiconductor particles measuring only a few nanometres, costs can be halved.

Another advantage is the constant colour throughout the life of the LED. Quantum dot sheets take on a bluish tinge over time. As far as lifetime is concerned, Quantum Colours LEDs should last at least 30,000 hours; initial tests have produced positive results.

 

 

 

 


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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