In the field of power management, GaN (GaN) is gaining more and more attention as applications demand for high voltage and high performance. From a theoretical point of view, GaN offers technological advantages over traditional silicon MOSFETs. Although the current power GaN market is insignificant compared to the $3.28 billion silicon power management market, GaN devices are penetrating into applications such as LiDAR, a high-end application that takes advantage of the high-frequency switching characteristics of power GaN. According to Yole Développement, the power GaN market will reach $423 million by 2023, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 93%.
At present, the biggest application scenario of power GaN is still the power supply, such as the fast charging of mobile phones. In 2018, Navitas and Exagan introduced a 45W fast charging power adapter with an integrated GaN solution.
The smartphone giants represented by Apple are also highly concerned about the application potential of GaN. If companies like Apple adopt GaN, many other companies will follow up, which makes the market have great room for development.
In the electric vehicle market, GaN’s participating manufacturers, such as EPC and Transphorm, have already obtained automotive certification and are preparing for the potential growth of GaN.
Power GaN Industry Chain
Since the first release of commercial power GaN devices, more than a decade have entered the industry chain, such as EPC, GaN Systems, Transphorm, Navitas, etc. Most of these start-ups choose the foundry model, mainly using TSMC, Episil or X-fab as their preferred partner. On this basis, more and more foundries will provide this service. .
At the same time, power device industry giants such as Infineon, ON Semiconductor, STMicroelectronics, Panasonic and Texas Instruments have also launched new GaN projects in the past few years, especially in 2018, causing the industry. General concerns, such as:
1. Infineon began mass production of CoolGaN 400V and 600V electronic mode HEMT products at the end of 2018;
2. STMicroelectronics and CEA Leti announced a joint development of GaN-on-Si technology based on 200mm wafers and expects to validate engineering samples in 2019. At the same time, STMicroelectronics will create a production line for the production of GaN-on-Si heteroepitaxial products, which will be put into production at the front-end wafer fab in France in 2020.
Here, a simple explanation of the epitaxial (Epitaxy, referred to as Epi) process means that a single crystal material having the same lattice arrangement as the substrate is grown on the single crystal substrate, and the epitaxial layer may be a homoepitaxial layer (Si/Si). It may also be a heteroepitaxial layer (SiGe/Si or SiC/Si, etc.). There are many ways to achieve epitaxial growth, including molecular beam epitaxy (MBE), ultra-high vacuum chemical vapor deposition (UHV/CVD), atmospheric and depressurization epitaxy (ATM & RP Epi).
Since power GaN is an emerging industry, the entire industrial chain is still in the early stage of development and is not mature. However, based on the original power technology and industrial base, the industrial chain has basically taken shape, and related companies have also sharpened their own fields. Welcome the outbreak of the power GaN market.
Throughout the entire power GaN industry chain, it can be roughly divided into seven major sections, each with corresponding suppliers: silicon substrate supplier, silicon-based GaN epitaxial wafer supplier, power GaN device foundry (extension + Device Manufacturing), Device Design + GaN Epitaxial Manufacturing, Fabless (Device and Epitaxial Design), Pure Foundry, IDM.
Below we will introduce the representative enterprises in these seven sections one by one.
Silicon substrate supplier
The world’s fourth-largest silicon wafer manufacturer, headquartered in Munich, Germany, has a 150/200/300mm wafer line in Germany, a 200mm wafer fab in the US, and 200mm and 300mm lines in Singapore.
A global chip maker for integrated circuits. As a raw material manufacturer, Shin-Etsu Chemical Co., Ltd. has achieved good results in the research and production of the highest quality silicone products in the world since the introduction of silicone manufacturing and sales 50 years ago.
In order to meet the ever-increasing product requirements, Shin-Etsu Silicones has established a global production and sales network in Japan, the United States, the Netherlands, Taiwan, Korea, Singapore and Zhejiang and Shanghai, China, providing customers with high cost at a lower cost. Efficient service.
Japan Sumco (Sumco)
The Sumco Group is the world’s second largest supplier of silicon wafers, and its silicon substrate capacity will directly affect the future GaN wafer market.
Formerly known as MEMC Electronic Materials Inc., which was founded in 1959, SunEdison is one of the originators of silicon materials in the global photovoltaic industry and the world’s largest developer of clean energy. Its assets were once as high as $10 billion.
In August 2016, GCL-Poly Energy Holdings Co., Ltd. announced that it has signed an agreement with SunEdison to acquire the assets of the latter and its affiliates SunEdison Products Singapore, MEMCPasadena and Solaicx for approximately US$150 million.
Taiwan’s Wafer Works
The fab offers customers a variety of wafer solutions through vertically integrated single crystal ingots, polishing and Epi wafer lines. The main products are semiconductor silicon wafer materials, silicon wafer materials for solar cells and sapphire substrates for the LED industry.
Silicon-based GaN epitaxial wafer supplier
NTT AT (Japan Telecommunications Corporation Research Institute)
NTT-AT provides high quality GaN epitaxial wafers to ensure consistency with IC manufacturers’ design philosophy. In addition, the company is constantly striving to reduce leakage current and reduce collapse by precisely controlling epitaxial growth conditions and maintaining a stable process based on proprietary technology and years of technology that NTT Labs inherits.
NTT-AT has prepared a wafer production system suitable for the development of high uniformity requirements and stable mass production of commercial products. NTT-AT is a partner of IC manufacturers that offer GaN HEMT epitaxial wafers to customers.
Is a compound semiconductor supplier that supplies gallium semiconductor materials for lasers and sensors, red and infrared light-emitting diodes (LEDs), and nitride semiconductors for high-power semiconductors, as well as for sterilization equipment. Develop new products in areas with high potential for development such as UV LEDs.
IQE (Integrity, quality and expertise)
It is a semiconductor wafer product and operation service provider based in Cardiff, Wales, UK.
Founded in 2010, EpiGan is headquartered in Hasselt, East Belgium. It is a derivative company of IMEC, a world-renowned microelectronics industry-university research center. It has a top team and strong independent research and development capabilities. The company has already achieved mass production of 8-inch silicon-based GaN wafer wafers, and its production process is at an advanced level compared to the mainstream 6-inch production line.
EpiGaN’s main products are silicon-on-GaN (GaN-on-Si) and GaN-on-SiC epitaxial wafers, which are widely used in 5G communication, high-efficiency power electronics, RF power, sensors, etc. . Major partners include European Space Agency, Bosch, Infineon, IBM, Emerson, OMMIC and other well-known institutions and companies.
The company is a key member of the EU’s 36-month EU research project SERENA (silicon-based high-efficiency millimeter-wave European system integration platform) launched by the European Union in January 2018.
Power GaN device foundry (epitaxial + device manufacturing)
EPISIL (Hanlei Advanced Investment Holding Company)
Formerly known as Hanlei Technology, the main business is foundry of power semiconductors. In order to strengthen the layout in the field of power semiconductors, the company established an investment holding company in October 2014, and at the same time, it has two divisions, namely, the company, and the two subsidiaries.
Hanlei Investment Control and its subsidiaries are fully committed to the development of innovative technologies and products, and the development and mass production of GaN and SiC power semiconductor components is the proof that the company is actively involved in the energy industry.
With 8-inch wafer fabrication capabilities, located in Florida, USA, specializes in the development and manufacture of advanced technologies for intelligent sensors, imagers, advanced equipment and 2.5D / 3D chip integration.
In addition, FUJITSU (Fujitsu) and TSMC also provide power GaN device foundry (epitaxial + device manufacturing) services.
Device Design + GaN Epitaxial Manufacturing
Transphorm is a company that designs and manufactures GaN power converters and modules.
The company’s founders, Primit Parish and Umesh Mishra, founded and successfully operated a GaN LED company called Nitres. After Nitres was acquired by Cree, in 2007, the two co-founded Transphorm. For a decade, Transphorm has focused on bringing high voltage GaN FETs to market. Designed, manufactured and marketed GaN products for the power electronics market (data center servers, PV converters, induction/servo motors, industrial and automotive power supply markets).
In 2013, Transphorm introduced the only JEDEC-certified GaN device in the industry at the time. In March 2017, it launched the only AEC-Q101 certified 650V automotive GaN device on the market.
Supported by research firm CEA-Leti and semiconductor materials company Soitec, Exagan was founded in 2014 to accelerate the power electronics industry, moving from silicon-based technology to GaN-on-silicon technology. In order to make the power converter smaller and more efficient.
Exagan’s GaN power switch design can be manufactured in a standard 200mm fab, providing a high-performance, high-reliability product through a powerful supply chain. Its G-FETTM and G-DRIVETM product lines provide extremely high performance, extremely low power conversion, greatly increasing the efficiency of power conversion components and can be used in applications such as solar, industrial, automotive and communications.
Exagan’s 200mm GaN strategic partner includes X-FAB Silicon Foundries and international research organization CEA-Leti, and quality control and testing works with TüV NORD GROUP.
Exagan’s main strongholds are in Grenoble and Toulouse, France.
Fabless (device and epitaxial design)
GaN Systems can design smaller, lower cost, more efficient power GaN devices. By changing transistor performance, the company can help power conversion customers change their industry rules and achieve a win-win situation.
Established in 2014.
If high switching frequencies can be combined with high energy efficiency, the power system can achieve significant improvements in charging speed, power density and cost reduction. Navitas revolutionized this revolution with the industry’s first GaN power IC, which increases switching speed by a factor of 100 while saving 40% or more. The company’s name Navitas originated from the Latin "energy".
Headquartered in Naszna, Israel, it was founded in 2010 by a group of GaN technology experts to develop and market advanced power-calling products based on GaN. VisIC has successfully developed high-power transistors and modules based on GaN. VisIC has obtained patent protection for GaN technology and is currently applying for other patents.
VisIC’s unique know-how is based on knowledge of GaN transistors, using GaN molds to design efficient and advanced packages to create cost-effective, small-sized, high-performance devices.
Its ALL-Switch family is a system-in-package (SIP) switch. The safety function is integrated in the package, and the on-resistance is low, especially the fast switching performance is excellent and the duty is small. ALL-Switch products are ideal for applications that require high efficiency, high power density, and low cost.
EPC Power Conversion Company (EPC)
EPC is a supplier of enhanced GaN-based power management devices and is the first silicon-based enhanced gallium nitride (eGaN) field-effect transistor company to introduce alternative power MOSFET devices. Its target applications include DC-DC converters, wireless. Power delivery, envelope tracking, RF transmission, power inverters, lidar (LiDAR), and Class D audio amplifiers are much more powerful than silicon power MOSFET devices. In addition, EPC is expanding its eGaN-based product line to provide customers with further savings in board space, energy savings and cost savings.
Dialog Semiconductor, based in London, UK, began offering GaN power ICs to fast-charging power adapter manufacturers in the second half of 2016. Mark Tyndall, senior vice president of enterprise development and strategy at Dialog, said at the time: "When TSMC started on 6-inch wafers When GaN was supplied, we found this to be a signal that the time to enter the GaN market is ripe."
Since then, Dialog has been working with TSMC to bring high-voltage GaN power ICs and controllers to market. Dialog’s power management ICs and digital "RapidCharge" power conversion controllers provide a more efficient, smaller, and more power-efficient power solution than existing silicon FETs.
By integrating and leveraging its strengths in GaN HEMT power device design, controller and driver IC design, and power electronics system design, the company is creating a vertically integrated design value chain that provides customers with advanced products.
The company’s product advantages include: High switching frequency allows significant reductions in manufacturing costs by reducing transistor cost and using smaller passive components. This also means that power electronics systems using GaN transistors can achieve higher power density, smaller size, and lighter weight.
In addition, the excellent thermal properties of GaN materials allow for smaller or no heat sinks, further reducing size and weight and reducing overall cost.
In addition to the above companies, Tagore Technology is also a Fabless focused on power GaN.
Headquartered in Erfurt, Germany, X-Fab is principally engaged in the production of analog and mixed-signal integrated circuits, as well as GaN and SiC solutions for high voltage applications.
X-Fab’s sales in 2017 were $582 million, and sales in 2016 were $513 million.
World Advanced (VIS)
It was established in December 1994 in Hsinchu Science Park, Taiwan, China. It is a leading manufacturer of special process IC manufacturing services. The world’s leading company currently has three gossip fabs with an average monthly production capacity of approximately 199,000 wafers in 2018.
The world’s advanced full use of existing technology core expertise, in line with industry and market growth needs, continue to increase product and process R & D investment, in the power devices, the current continuous development of process technology including high voltage process (High Voltage), ultra high pressure process (Ultra High Voltage), BCD (Bipolar CMOS DMOS) process, SOI (Silicon on Insulator), etc., and power GaN and SiC are also the business sectors that the company focuses on.
GCS (Huanyu Communication Semiconductor)
Founded in 1997 in California, USA, it is an ISO-certified manufacturer of III-V compound semiconductors (GaAs, GaAs, GaN). It manufactures products for wireless communication. The market’s RF ICs and millimeter-wave circuits, as well as power components for the power electronics market, include power GaN foundry services.
In addition, TowerJazz, a well-known specialty process foundry, also offers GaN foundry services.
The company is expanding its product portfolio to the GaN space. In September last year, STMicroelectronics demonstrated its research and development progress in power GaN and announced that it will build a new production line to produce products including GaN-on-Si heteroepitaxial.
The company collaborated with CEA-Leti in power GaN in 2018, focusing on the design and development of normally-off GaN HEMTs and GaN diodes, which will leverage CEA-Leti’s intellectual property and STMicroelectronics expertise (Know-how) . ST developed the product on the CEA-Leti pilot line in Grenoble, France, and moved to STMicroelectronics’ 8-inch production line (also in France) after the technology matured.
In addition, STMicroelectronics is working with MACOM to develop RF GaN products.
In September 2014, Infineon acquired US International Rectifier (IR) for US$3 billion. Through this acquisition, Infineon acquired IR’s Si substrate GaN power semiconductor manufacturing technology. In 2010, IR introduced the first commercial GaN products iP2010 and iP2011 for multiphase and POL DC-DC converters, switches and servers. In May 2013, IR began commercialization of GaN devices on Si.
In March 2015, Infineon and Panasonic reached an agreement to jointly develop a normally closed Si substrate GaN transistor using Panasonic and a high efficiency 600V GaN power device with Infineon’s surface mount (SMD) packaged GaN device. Panasonic granted Infineon a license to use its normally closed GaN transistor structure. According to the agreement, both companies can produce high-performance GaN devices.
Infineon began mass production of CoolGaN 400V and 600V enhanced HEMTs by the end of 2018.
In power GaN R&D, ON Semiconductor is working with Transphorm to develop and market GaN-based products and power system solutions for high voltage applications in industrial, computer, communications, LED lighting and networking. In 2017, the two companies jointly launched 600 V GaN cascaded (Cascode) transistors NTP8G202N and NTP8G206N. The on-resistance of the two devices is 290 mΩ and 150 mΩ, respectively, and the output capacitance is 36 pF and 56 pF, respectively. The recovery charge is 0.029 & micro; C and 0.054 & micro; C, in an optimized TO-220 package, easy to integrate according to the customer’s existing board making capabilities.
Based on the same on-resistance rating, the company’s first generation of 600 V silicon-based GaN devices have provided more than 4 times better gate charge, better output charge, similar output capacitance, and better than 20 times more than high-voltage silicon MOSFETs. To restore charge, by continuing to improve, the advantages of GaN will become more and more obvious in the future.
Texas Instruments (TI)
TI’s GaN family of solutions integrates high-speed gate drivers, EMI control, overtemperature and overcurrent protection with 100ns response time. The integrated device optimizes the layout to minimize parasitic inductance, improve dv/dt immunity (CMTI), and reduce layout space.
In the GaN development process, Panasonic solved many problems. In particular, its X-GaN series has outstanding advantages, mainly in the following three aspects: safety <implementation of the normally closed>; the same driving method as Si-MOSFET <gate which is not easy to be broken>; easy to design <no current collapse> .
X-GaN uses the HD-GIT architecture to provide the most suitable package options from low power to high power devices. The DFN6x4 is available for low power, and the DFN8x8 is available for high power. The PSOP package is available in high power. In addition, all products can use Kelvin Source, which can minimize the source parasitic inductance and achieve high frequency stable operation.
The above are the seven major sections of the global power GaN industry chain and their respective representative enterprises. From this we can see that power GaN technology, products and markets are mainly controlled by US, Japanese and European companies. Relatively speaking, China’s local enterprises The scale and influence are still small. However, driven by the huge market development potential, a number of power GaN companies in China are also catching up and gradually filling and improving China’s GaN industry system. I hope that in the near future, I will compete with these multinational companies.
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