STMicroelectronics, a major partner of the IRT Nanoelec, is participating in the POWERGAN program of the institute, to develop a disruptive 200 mm GaN technology for power applications that will be transferred to its pilot line in its manufacturing site of Tours – France. For the global electronic leader ST, this is a key building block of its power-switching-device ecosystem, along with the recent moves towards involving TSMC and Exagan. Look in context, with Filippo Di Giovanni, Manager of Strategic Marketing, Innovation, and Key Programs, Power Transistor Macro-Division, STMicroelectronics, Catania
What is STMicroelectronics position on power switching devices?
We are extremely optimistic on the opportunity for growth in both the SiC and GaN wide bandgap power electronics markets and we are investing appropriately to build solid and reliable supply chains that ensure that ST can be a global leader in both. With our tailored initiatives, we are taking steps in order to address the main application clusters in the power electronics market with appropriate technologies, as shown in the figure below to meet the unique needs of those applications. The power GaN-on-Si technology from ST is ideal to provide high-efficiency, high-power applications, including automotive on-board chargers and DC-DC converters for hybrid and electric vehicles, wireless charging, and servers.
Last month, STMicroelectronics announced an agreement with TSMC, one of the world’s largest foundries, and also announced the acquisition of the French innovator Exagan. What is your new roadmap on GaN technologies?
Our goal in GaN is to replicate our success in SiC by quickly establishing a leading position as we are strongly convinced that this technology will be pervasive in our important strategic pillars, particularly in energy management (industrial and automotive). Consequently, we are setting-up our technology platform and manufacturing strategy.
The collaboration with IRT Nanoelec is key to our 200 mm GaN power technology platform and pilot line in our Tours manufacturing site, France, which will be the backbone to build a comprehensive product line-up.
In parallel, we are working with TSMC and Exagan to accelerate the large-scale adoption of GaN power technology for fast-growing markets.
The acquisition of the French innovator Exagan provides us with broader expertise in epitaxy, product development and application know-how. Exagan will continue to execute its product roadmap and will now be supported by ST in the deployment of its products
Will these new deals change your roadmap on POWER GaN with the IRT Nanoelec?
Absolutely no change. We are firmly committed to continuing our fruitful collaboration for the development of the next generations of GaN power devices within the framework of the IRT Nanoelec POWERGAN program. Ongoing developments on 200 mm wafers of advanced 650V transistors and Schottky diodes based on the MIS Gate Recess approach look promising. First trials attest to the feasibility of a transfer to our ST Tours GaN pilot line starting in 2021. We know from our experience in power silicon and silicon carbide that GaN power components will improve significantly in the future. We therefore strongly support the POWERGAN roadmap on advanced GaN power components. We do believe that POWERGAN gathers the multidisciplinary industrial and academic expertise required to start a journey for moving GaN devices towards the theoretical limits of the GaN material while, at the same time, devising extra and high value-added “smart” functions for end-users.