M/A-COM Technology Solutions (MACOM), a supplier of high performance RF, microwave, and millimeter wave products, has announced an IP licensing program for Gallium Nitride (GaN) on Silicon technology. MACOM detailed recent progress in two areas critical to realising its future vision of enabling the mainstream adoption of GaN as a large-scale RF semiconductor technology across the industry.
As a first step, MACOM has announced a license and epitaxial (epi) wafer supply agreement which will enable IQE, a leading supplier of compound semiconductor epi, to manufacture GaN-on-Silicon epi at 4, 6 and 8-inch diameters in high volume for RF applications. This move is expected to allow MACOM to deliver GaN RF products with breakthrough bandwidth and efficiency at mainstream 8-inch silicon cost structures.
In addition, MACOM has also announced that it is in active discussions to make GaN-on-Silicon technology available to select companies for use in RF applications. MACOM believes that establishing such large diameter wafer manufacturing sources will be a key factor in driving mainstream, commercial adoption of GaN technology. Surety of supply is of critical importance in power amplifier dependent markets such as cellular basestations. According to Strategy Analytics, power amplifier transistor revenue from base stations will grow to more than $1 billion in 2014.
“We are nearing a watershed moment for the RF & Microwave industry, promising breakthrough performance for compound semiconductors and leveraging large-scale silicon production facilities that operate at orders of magnitude greater economies of scale,” said John Croteau, President and CEO, MACOM. “We believe our recent acquisition of Nitronex and its portfolio of fundamental IP rights related to GaN-on-Silicon materials, process, and device technology for RF applications provides us with the foundation for a licensing programme that will help bring our vision of GaN performance at mainstream 8-inch silicon cost structures a reality.”
IQE currently supplies over 50% of the world’s RF epitaxial wafers and possesses the largest independent manufacturing capacity of compound semiconductor epi worldwide, and as a result, is able to achieve enhanced economies of scale, helping to build wafer capacity and cost structure needed to grow the GaN market.
“We are beginning to see very significant traction for GaN occurring in the compound semiconductor industry, across a wide range of applications” said Drew Nelson, President & CEO, IQE. “Our agreement with MACOM allows us to further penetrate this new market by bringing decades of high volume production experience to create the necessary supply chain needed to accelerate GaN adoption. We look forward to a powerful ongoing relationship.”