RFMD is converting its all GaN production and development to 6-inch diameter wafers using its existing high-volume, 6-inch GaAs foundry to reduce platform cost for the growing GaN device market. The move from 4 inch to 6 inch, help RFMD to produce 2.5 times more number of devices in single process in 6-inch compared to 4-inch. By bringing down the cost of each device RFMD is planning to make GaN more affordable for the electronics industry.
Gallium nitride based Power transistors are used in high-frequency applications, where they outperform silicon transistors. GaN is used in military/aerospace applications and also in cellular communication and such wireless infrastructure applications. In power electronics Gallium Nitride -based transistors are used in electric cars and solar inverters as power switching device. Due to its ability to work at higher temperature, high switching speed, and higher breakdown voltages, GaN -based transistor market is forecasted to grow three times bigger by 2017 to reach a market of US$ 334 million, as per Strategy Analytics.
"We are pleased to introduce the industry's first 6-inch GaN-on-SiC RF technology on RFMD's existing high- volume 6-inch GaAs manufacturing line," said Bob Bruggeworth, president and CEO of RFMD. "This merging of production of GaN and GaAs is part of our 'GaN-in-GaAs Fab' strategy to repurpose existing fab capacity to better address growth opportunities from innovative new GaN-based products."
"By leveraging our technology leadership and high-volume expertise in 6-inch GaAs production, RFMD will now be able to add 6-inch GaN capabilities to deliver new RF Power products that we expect will accelerate revenue growth in our communications, CATV, power conversion, radar, jamming, aerospace and open foundry businesses," said Dr. Jeff Shealy, vice-president of RFMD Power Broadband.
RFMD expects to complete qualification of its 6-inch GaN platforms in 2014.