AIXTRON says YESvGaN / epitaxy specialist AIXTRON is a partner of the EU research project YESvGaN / high energy efficiency and low CO2 emissions through the use of GaN power transistors


Epitaxy specialist AIXTRON is a partner of the EU research project YESvGaN / High Wide-Band-Gap Performance with low silicon costs / High energy efficiency and low CO2 emissions through the use of GaN power transistors / Range extension for electromobility

Herzogenrath, December 14, 2021 – Digitization in particular has triggered a massive increase in applications and electronic devices and thus also in the consumption of electrical energy. Intelligent and efficient power electronics are necessary to ensure the power supply and environmentally friendly high energy efficiency. The aim of the “YESvGaN” (Vertical GaN on Silicon: Wide Band Gap Power at Silicon Cost) research project is therefore to develop highly efficient power transistors based on a new type of process technology for large-scale industrial production.

In the development of vertical gallium nitride (GaN) power transistors with silicon as a substrate, the consortium relies on the epitaxial expertise of AIXTRON SE (FWB: AIXA, ISIN DE000A0WMPJ6), a leading global provider of deposition systems for the semiconductor industry. Because for this newly developed power component, the compound semiconductor material gallium nitride has to grow over a large area in the form of crystalline layers on a suitable substrate such as a silicon wafer.

Combination of high performance with a large band gap and the cost advantages of silicon technology

“GaN power transistors on silicon wafers offer us the fascinating possibility of combining a power density of around 15% higher in gallium nitride compared to silicon (Si) with the cost advantages of the established silicon technology SiC-MOSFETs at chip costs that are equivalent to those of Si-IGBTs” says Prof. Dr. Michael Heuken, Vice President Advanced Technologies at AIXTRON SE.

This is made possible by the performance advantages of wide bandgap vertical transistors (WBG). These properties make it possible to produce transistors from semiconductors with a large band gap, such as gallium nitride (GaN), which are more powerful than conventional silicon semiconductors. The lower energy losses of up to 50% when switching high electrical powers and the lower production costs due to the use of silicon wafers make GaN power transistors ideal for use in many price-sensitive applications.

High energy efficiency and low CO2 emissions

“There is also the advantage that you can significantly reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions,” adds Prof. Dr. Michael Heuken. The “YESvGaN” consortium estimates the power savings potential through the consistent use of such YESvGaN vertical membrane GaN transistors in the EU in 2030 at the output of seven nuclear power plants or ten coal-fired power plants.

The energy efficiency makes the use of these transistors particularly attractive in the data center area with their high power consumption. These devices are also very useful as traction inverters for electric vehicles. The use of low-loss power electronics makes a valuable contribution to electromobility, not only by saving energy, but also by extending the range of electric vehicles.

In order to further advance the market penetration of GaN-based components, AIXTRON is also testing epitaxial growth on epitaxial wafers with a diameter of 300 mm as part of the “YESvGaN” research project; Currently, MOCVD technology is mainly used for crystal growth on 150mm to 200mm wafers. The specialist in deposition systems is developing the appropriate equipment for the deposition of GaN layers on 300 mm silicon substrates.

“YESvGaN” bundles the relevant competencies along the value chain in a consortium of large companies, small and medium-sized companies and institutes from seven European countries. In addition to AIXTRON SE, the partners are Bosch GmbH, Ferdinand-Braun-Institut gGmbH, Leibnitz Institute for High Frequency Technology, Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Systems and Component Technology IISB, Finepower GmbH, X-FAB Dresden GmbH & Co. KG, X-FAB Global Services GmbH, NanoWired GmbH and Siltronic AG, Center national de la recherche scientifique CNRS, Ion Beam Services SA, STMicroelectronics (Tours) SAS (France), EpiGan NV, Universiteit Gent (Belgium), EV Group E. Thallner GmbH, Materials Center Leoben Research GmbH (Austria), Hexagam AB, Linkopings Universitet (Sweden), Smart Induction Converter Technologies SL, Universitat de València (Spain), AUREL SPA, Consorzio nazionale interuniversitario per la nanoelettronica, Raw Power Srl (Italy).

“YESvGaN” is funded by the European Union (EU) and the member states (grant number 16MEE0178).

Further information: YESvGaN and AIXTRON

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AIXTRON SE is a leading supplier of coating systems for the semiconductor industry. The company was founded in 1983 and is headquartered in Herzogenrath (near Aachen), Germany, with subsidiaries and sales offices in Asia, the USA and Europe. AIXTRON’s technology solutions are used by a large number of customers around the world to build advanced components for electronic and optoelectronic applications based on composite or organic semiconductor materials. Such components are used in a wide range of innovative applications, technologies and industries. These include laser and LED applications, display technologies, data transmission, SiC and GaN power management and conversion, communication, signaling and lighting, as well as a number of other pioneering applications.

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