RFHIC to Acquire Element Six's GaN on Diamond Epiwafer Technology

RFHIC GaN on DiamondRFHIC Corporation (RFHIC), one of the leading manufacturers of GaN Amplifiers, has signed a deal with Element Six (E6), a member of the De Beers Group of Companies to acquire its GaN-on-Diamond technology.

RFHIC (based in South Korea) has been investing in GaN technology for over a decade. They were the first fabless firm to use commercially available GaN foundry services. In 2008, they expanded their core competency from GaN-on-silicon (Si) to GaN-on-silicon carbide (SiC).

Over the years the applications of GaN have expanded significantly. The technology is now used in 4G LTE, next generation radar and communication systems. With the increase in demand and scale, GaN has become more cost effective and competitive when compared to LDMOS and other legacy technologies for a number of use cases.

In 2016, RFHIC started working with GaN-on-Diamond technology. The core limiting factor for GaN was the thermal performance of the substrate material. With the use of a diamond substrate, GaN performance can go far beyond what Si and SiC can ever achieve. According to a story published on Semiconductor-Today, RFHIC believes that GaN-on-Diamond is the right technology to unleash the full capability of GaN. The power density of GaN-on-Diamond transistor is expected to be more than three times higher than that of GaN-on-SiC. 

RFHIC plans to make its GaN-on-Diamond technology widely available for applications such as RADAR, Tactical Radios, Microwave Heating, Satellite Communications, Power Supplier, and wireless 4G & 5G infrastructure. 

Samuel Cho, RFHIC Chairman and CTO, said: “We are very excited about the vast possibilities enabled by GaN-on-Diamond technology. RFHIC expects that this technology will help us to provide a single transistor with RF Power of up to 1kW depending on the frequency, significantly reducing combining loss thus enabling true high power RF systems for a diverse range of applications. The obvious beneficial customers would be the radar makers as the current market’s need is to replace tube based transmitter with high power solid state based transmitter. This GaN-on-Diamond technology will certainly accelerate the transformation of the Radar market as well as revolutionize the semiconductor industry. Furthermore, we expect the wireless infrastructure’s base station and small cell would become more energy efficient and reliable with simultaneously larger bandwidth. This improvement will enable the systems’ size to be substantially smaller, reducing the operators’ biggest operating cost of space rental. RFHIC will work closely with Element Six and foundry partners for the capability of manufacturing ten thousand six inch GaN-on-Diamond wafers per year in the foreseeable future. RFHIC’s technology roadmap is to introduce GaN-on-Diamond based solutions covering up to 40 GHz by the end of 2018.”

Source: Semiconductor Today.

RFHIC

  • Country: South Korea
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