Winners for 2019
Transphorm Ships Over a Quarter of a Million GaN Power Devices
Last year, Transphorm, designer and manufacturing of the highest reliability and first JEDEC- and AEC-Q101 qualified 650 V gallium nitride (GaN) semiconductors—disclosed that it has shipped more than 250 thousand high voltage GaN FETs. Used in customers’ mass production applications, the devices were manufactured by the company in its Aizu, Japan, wafer foundry.Transphorm also stated that its wafer-foundry’s annual installed capacity base of 15 million parts of its popular 50 mohm product equivalent can easily scale to address 2x to 5x the volume. Further, when demand warrants it, the technology and manufacturing process can be structured to scale from the current 6-inch to 8-inch or potentially higher wafers.“2018 has been a game-changing year for high voltage GaN,” said Primit Parikh, Co-founder and COO, Transphorm. “More than 250 thousand 650 V GaN FETs from Transphorm are deployed in our customers’ mass production, high performance power converter and inverter products. These products are available through various channels. Even Amazon. With our production volumes to date, we’re able to conservatively estimate more than 1.3 billion field hours of operation with a field FIT rate in the low single digits as well as over a billion hours of Mean Time Before Failure at operating conditions from an extensive suite of operating and accelerated reliability testing.”Transphorm is the first high voltage GaN FET supplier to show field failure data from devices shipped. This data is used to calculate the field failure rate in parts per million (ppm) and failure in time (FIT), which shows the technology’s reliability. Availability of field data is an important new phase for high voltage GaN in power systems, as it indicates a maturing technology.“The pivotal benchmarks of any new technology’s market acceptance are adoption by leading customers in key market segments and the emergence of multiple, strong suppliers capable of supporting ensuing high volume ramps,” said Mario Rivas, CEO, Transphorm. “While we are very pleased with what Transphorm has achieved in partnership with our customers, we are even more excited to see high voltage power semiconductor leaders like Nexperia and Infineon join the GaN revolution. Customers can now reap the benefits of energy-saving GaN with increased confidence in its suppliers.”
5G RF Front End Modules
It’s forecasted that 5G networks will be operational by 2020, and that by 2022, approximately 25% of new subscriptions in North America will feature 5G. Qorvo expanded its 5G leadership with the industry’s first 28 GHz Gallium Nitride (GaN) front-end module (FEM) known as QPF4001, as well as the first Gallium Nitride on Silicon Carbide (GaN-on-SiC) FEM for the 39GHz frequency band known as QPF4005. These new FEMs reduce overall system costs for base station equipment manufacturers as they expand into 5G. Since the 28 GHz and 39 GHz frequency bands are widely preferred for early 5G-based fixed wireless access deployments, Qorvo’s FEMs enable operators to meet the speed, latency, reliability and capacity requirements of 5G – a technology that’s imminent arrival is set to connect countless industries.Qorvo’s 5G RF Front End Modules are the first of their kind – allowing telecom equipment manufacturers to accelerate the transition to 5G worldwide with significant improvements in efficiency and operational bandwidth with Qorvo’s GaN-on-SiC products, which deliver high power density, reduced size, excellent gain, high reliability, process maturity, and volume production.Other benefits of GaN FEMs include:Lower total power dissipation. To ensure an accurate comparison, the GaN power dissipation includes an extra 19.2 watts, to account for the 128 beamformer branches needed to feed the front ends. At the target EIRP of 65 dBm, GaN provides a lower total power dissipation (127 Pdiss) than SiGe. This is better for tower-mounted system designs.Better reliability. GaN is more reliable than SiGe, with 107 hours MTTF at 200°C junction temperature. SiGe’s junction temperature limit is around 130°C.Reduced size and complexity. GaN’s high power capabilities reduces array elements and size, which simplifies assembly and reduces overall system size. The QPF4001 FEM integrates a high linearity LNA, a low loss transmit/receive switch and a high-gain, high efficiency multi-stage PA in a single MMIC. The compact 5x4 mm air-cavity laminate surface mount package is optimized for the phased array element spacing at 28 GHz for 5G base station architectures. Qorvo’s new GaN FEM enables smaller, more powerful and efficient millimeter-wave, phased array systems, which will steer signals to areas of greater bandwidth demand. Use of Qorvo’s highly efficient 0.15-micron GaN-on-SiC technology in this application allows the user to more efficiently achieve higher EIRP levels while minimizing array size and power dissipation, resulting in a lower cost system. The dual-channel QPF4005 features a unique design – a small footprint that integrates two powerful, multi-function GaN MMICs. The FEM is built on Qorvo’s highly efficient 0.15-micron GaN-on-SiC technology. It integrates two identical, multi-function GaN MMICs into a small footprint, optimized for phased array element spacing at 39GHz. Each of the MMICs contains a low-noise amplifier, a SPDT switch and a power amplifier.
GaN-on-Silicon Epiwafer Technology Without Carbon Doping
In 2018 Allos Semiconductors introduced its latest GaN-on-Si epiwafer technology for power semiconductors. In this field the company is the first to show a complete set of epiwafer characteristics as needed by the industry including excellent dynamic Ron performance at a high breakdown voltage. In particular, it is the first company to show that carbon doping is not needed to achieve the low leakage performance and high breakdown voltages required for state-of-the-art power semiconductor devices. Most players in the market rely on carbon doping to achieve the required high breakdown voltage. However, it has been a well characterized that relying on carbon doping to achieve a high breakdown voltages comes with severe undesirable side-effects. Especially dynamic Ron performance and device reliability are negatively impacted by this carbon doping.In a press release from December 2018 Allos reported for the first time in the industry excellent dynamic Ron performance, high breakdown voltage, low leakage and low controllable wafer bow can be attained simultaneously. It showed an order of magnitude improvement in Ron at a nearly 2X higher critical electric field as compared to a film relying on carbon doping to achieve reasonable breakdown voltage performance. It achieved this by leveraging the superior isolation properties of its high crystal quality material, rather than relying on carbon doping. This means that customers are no longer required to make a trade-off between low leakage and superior dynamic behaviour but instead can have both on the same wafer.
Siltectra, Agnitron Technology
Multi-Channel Surface Mount (SMT) Laser for LiDAR
In 2018 Osram Opto Semiconductors announced an ultrafast laser driver with a high-power, multi-channel Surface Mount (SMT) laser for LiDAR (Light detection and ranging) systems. It has worked with GaN Systems to develop the technology.One of the issues with LiDAR technology has been its inability to transmit lasers at short pulses, while maintaining high peak power, which is necessary to ensure that the LiDAR is eye safe with a long range and high resolution. To address this need, Osram worked with GaN Systems to develop a laser driver with a one nanosecond pulse rise time, while driving all four channels at 40A each to deliver 480W peak power. This peak power then can be modulated at low-duty cycles to produce high resolution 3D cloud points at long range for new LiDAR designs.Operating at the elevated current levels and nanosecond rise times necessary for long-distance LiDAR requires the high power, high frequency and robust thermal performance that are the hallmarks of GaN Systems' products,” said Jim Witham, CEO of GaN Systems. “It is great to see the industry recognise these performance attributes and leverage them for its systems.”Scanning LiDAR is a key technology for Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS), which is designed to increase road safety and enable autonomous driving. These electronic devices react instantly to potential collisions without wasting precious seconds of reaction time. Scanning LiDAR creates high-resolution 3D images of a car's surroundings and registers obstacles early enough for ADAS or self-driving cars to initiate the appropriate driving manoeuvres, such as automatic braking to prevent collisions.Osram enables LiDAR technology for autonomous vehicles by not only developing high power, multi-channel SMT lasers that meet automotive quality standards, but also working with eco-system partners like GaN Systems to address the technological barriers that arise.Osram has continuously expanded its laser portfolio for LiDAR to accommodate the needs of customers, including increasing the peak power of the SPL DS90A_3 to 120 W at 40 A. In addition, Osram plans to release a four-channel SMT laser in 2019. The additional channels increase the field of view and total peak power, with each channel being capable of generating 120 W.
Macom, Rohm Semiconductor, Infineon