ESTnet Premier Member IQE plc has entered an agreement with M/A-COM Technology Solutions Inc. ("MACOM"), a leading supplier of high performance RF, microwave, and millimeter wave products, to deliver Gallium Nitride on Silicon (GaN-on-Si) performance with 200mm silicon cost structure.
Surety of supply is critical for high volume markets such as wireless basestations, estimated by ABI Research to represent more than 60% of the overall $1.2bn RF power market. As a first step in its licensing program, MACOM will license to IQE the ability to produce GaN-on-Si wafers utilizing MACOM's patent-protected technology. The agreement will enable MACOM to deliver GaN RF products with breakthrough bandwidth and efficiency at a mainstream 200mm silicon cost structure and will enable IQE to accelerate GaN penetration into key target markets.
Today IQE supplies more than 50% of the world's compound semiconductor epitaxial wafers for RF applications and is already well-established as the leading provider of GaN high electron mobility transistor (HEMT) wafers for RF, broadband, and military power amplifiers.
Transistors for these applications have historically been fabricated using 3 inch and/or 100mm silicon carbide substrates. To complement these products and increase market reach, IQE has developed and demonstrated growth of GaN HEMTs on industry standard silicon substrates at wafer diameters of 100mm, 150mm, and 200mm. This technology, along with the comprehensive IP portfolio licensed from MACOM, will enable tremendous economies of scale, wafer capacity, and cost structure needed to substantially advance the GaN market.
Dr. Drew Nelson, CEO of IQE, said:
"We are beginning to see very significant traction for GaN occurring in the compound semiconductor industry, across a wide range of applications.Our partnership with MACOM allows us to further penetrate this market by bringing decades of high volume production experience to create the supply chain needed to accelerate GaN adoption.
"Combining GaN HEMT performance with low cost and large diameter silicon substrates enables these wafers to be processed through existing high volume silicon factories. Commercial availability of GaN HEMTs on 150mm and 200mm wafers represents a significant milestone toward the widespread adoption of this technology. To date, we have already delivered MACOM 200mm diameter GaN-on-Silicon wafers, and we look forward to a powerful ongoing relationship."
John Croteau, President and CEO of MACOM, said:
"MACOM is very excited to enter into this agreement with IQE, the recognized true world leader in compound semiconductor epitaxial supply. We believe that this Partnership achieves a critical milestone in the mainstream commericalizatin of GaN technology by establishing the manufacturing cability and capacity required to bring reilable, high volume surety of supply to the industry."