A Korean company developed GaN-on-Diamond deposition technology for the first time in Korea, the next generation wireless communication (RF) semiconductor material.
Gallium nitride-on-diamond has excellent heat dissipation, making it suitable for high performance, high temperature, and high voltage mobile communication equipment. The company plans to develop the entire production process and equipment for each process to launch RF parts based on gallium nitride-on-diamonds.
RFHIC (CEO Deok-Soo Cho) recently announced that it has developed a 4 inch gallium nitride-on-diamond wafer manufacturing technology.
The deposition of diamond on gallium nitride is largely divided into two methods: fusion of both at high pressure and high temperature (HPHT) or formation of a gallium nitride layer, followed by growth of diamond by chemical vapor deposition (CVD).
RFHIC chose the latter. HPHT can cause a number of problems during subsequent processes.
The company seeded nano-sized diamond particles on a substrate and grown them in a microplasma chemical vapor deposition (MPCVD) process to create a polycrystalline diamond layer. The wafer was fabricated by raising a buffer layer and growing gallium nitride.
RFHIC acquired Element Six (E6) gallium nitride-on-diamond technology in 2017. Element Six is a subsidiary of De Beers, the world's largest diamond producer, with a focus on designing and manufacturing synthetic diamonds.
It is the first company in Korea that has secured gallium nitride on diamond wafer manufacturing technology. Overseas, Qorvo has made transistors based on gallium nitride on diamond with the support of the US Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
Yoo Jong-hyun, head of the RFHIC Research Institute, said, "We are developing the high-frequency and high-temperature system for the mobile communication infrastructure and defense market."
In the global RF transistor market, NXP Semiconductors, Ampleon, Infineon, Sumitomo Electric and RFHIC account for 90 of the total market. NXP Semiconductors, Ampleon and Infineon make silicon-based Lateral Diffused MOS (LDMOS) transistors, while Sumitomo and RFHIC make GaN transistors.
RFHIC has been in GaN for over 20 years, from device design to modularization to systems. Its sales began in 2006. At the time the company was founded, GaN was expensive to demand, and most RF companies were focusing on traditional silicon-based LDMOS.
The company believes that low-loss, high-speed RF semiconductors will be needed as the frequency band increases, and it has released GaN-based devices faster than its competitors by securing its design technology and post-processing technology after research and development. In the early days, the product was first used in the mobile communication infrastructure, and from 2014, the defense market began to see light.
The main clients are telecommunication equipment and defense companies such as Samsung Electronics, Huawei and Ericsson.
At present, the company entrusts Cree with wafer and foundry and proceeds in-house from post-processing to make GaN products. Gallium nitride-on-diamonds are secured not only in design but also in wafer fabrication technology.