May 23, 2012 — EpiGaN NV opened its gallium nitride (GaN) epitaxial material production site, on the Research Campus Hasselt in Belgium. EpiGaN’s gallium nitride on silicon (GaN-on-Si) material is used in next-generation power electronics.
The site currently produces GaN layers on Si wafers up to 150mm in diameter, with 200mm wafer production in the works. Specific applications can also use silicon carbide (SiC). The company sampled first wafers to Europe, the US, and Asia in 2011. Power electronics will grow to $15 billion in sales of discrete components in 2020, says Lux Research Inc., with GaN and SiC taking a 22% market share for $3.3 billion in sales.
Flemish Minister Ingrid Lieten and Limburg, Belgium Governor Herman Reynders attended the opening. The site is part of the Eindhoven-Leuven-Aachen knowledge triangle, which offers infrastructure for cleanroom-based facilities and access to international customers.
GaN-on-Si power electronics boast higher performance than silicon-based power semiconductors, and target efficient power convertors, better power supplies for computers, motor drivers, inverters for solar energy technologies and greener transport with smaller environmental footprint. Because GaN-on-Si uses the same abundant silicon wafers as traditional semiconductors, it offers a cost scaling advantage over less-common materials. GaN-on-Si is also a future-generation material for light-emitting diode (LED) manufacturing, with several companies developing prototypes.
“Recent announcements indicate growing interest in GaN-on-silicon processing to reduce cost and higher voltage GaN processes which will improve power handling performance," said Asif Anwar, Director, Strategy Analytics Strategic Technologies Practice, in a recent report on GaN.
EpiGaN starts with 6 employees and is currently hiring more engineers and sales persons. The company was spun out of research organization IMEC to commercialize GaN-on-Si for electronics applications. This kind of strategic research development is an example of ways to address important challenges for society with innovative and state of the art technology, said Ingrid Lieten, Vice Minister-President of the Flemish Government
EpiGaN was incorporated in 2010 as a spin-off of imec. In 2011, EpiGaN added a strong consortium of investors, formed by Robert Bosch Venture Capital, Capricorn CleanTech Fund and LRM, enabling the installation of a new production facility. For more information visit www.epigan.com.