TriQuint to Lead DARPA MPC Program
CompoundSemi News Staff
May 7, 2012...The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has selected TriQuint Semiconductor, Inc. of Hillsboro, Oregon USA, to lead a $12.3 million development program focused on ultra-fast gallium nitride (GaN) switch technology for the Microscale Power Conversion (MPC) program. TriQuint says its new GaN modulator has the potential to enable highly-efficient RF transmitters that are substantially smaller than current solutions.
DARPA selected TriQuint as the prime contractor for MPC Technical Area I, which seeks to develop a high-speed, DC-to-DC switch (modulator) and related process technology based on the company’s enhancement-mode GaN transistors. The enhancement mode power switching device for the MPC program will be designed to have a blocking voltage of 200 volts, ultra-low dynamic on resistance of 1 ohm-mm and a slew rate of 500 volts per nanosecond. These capabilities will provide state-of-the-art solid-state technology. RF amplifiers employing these switches will target 75% system efficiency at X-band (8-12 GHz).
TriQuint is teamed with Rockwell Collins, the University of Colorado at Boulder and Northrop Grumman—Technical Area II contractors—to create a new generation of RF power amplifiers that use contour modulation for very high efficiency performance. Design approaches focusing on miniature system-in-a-package or monolithic integration to combine TriQuint’s switch / modulator with the power amplifier micro-system will be given preference.
GaN Systems & APEI to Package Gallium Nitride Power Transistors for Hybrid and Electric Vehicles
CompoundSemi News Staff
May 7, 2012...GaN Systems Inc. of Ottawa, Ontario Canada, and Arkansas Power Electronics International Inc. (APEI), announced that they will collaborate on the development of a gallium nitride transistors and diodes for hybrid and electric vehicles. This co-development is funded in part by the Government of Canada through Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) with the goal of demonstrating the efficiency, performance, and reliability of gallium nitride power devices in a power converter for hybrid and electric vehicles (HEVs and EVs).
Girvan Patterson, CEO of GaN Systems stated, "Advanced packaging is the key that unlocks the vast potential of gallium nitride in high-power applications so we are delighted to be collaborating with a world leader on a package and system design that will maximize the benefits of this exciting technology. This important partnership also marks a powerful endorsement of our patented, island-based topology, validating our unique design approach."
"For some time APEI has been looking for an opportunity to get more heavily involved in developing products for newly-emerging gallium nitride device technology," said Dr. Alexander Lostetter, President and CEO of APEI. "Our partnership with a pioneer such as GaN Systems will be very exciting for us, resulting in new power module and converter technologies for an industry that is demanding increased energy efficiency, higher performance and reliability, and smaller size and weight."
May 7, 2012...Durham, North Carolina-based Cree, Inc. announced a new family of 50A Silicon Carbide (SiC) devices, including the industry’s first 1700V Z-FET™ SiC MOSFET. According to Cree, the new 50A SiC devices, which also include a 1200V Z-FET SiC MOSFET and three Z-Rec® SiC Schottky diodes, boast record-setting energy efficiency and lower cost of ownership than with conventional technologies. The 50A SiC device series includes a 40 mOhm 1700V MOSFET, a 25 mOhm 1200V MOSFET and 50A/1700V, 50A/1200V, and 50A 650V Schottky diodes.
The new devices, available in die form, are designed for high-power modules for applications such as solar power inverters, uninterruptible power supply (UPS) equipment, and motor drives. Cree says that the SiC 50A devices, enable significantly lower cost of ownership through reduced size, lower-cost bill of materials (BOM), and improved efficiency.
“These larger die extend the benefits realized with our 20 Amp SiC MOSFETs to power applications up to 500 kW, making it possible to replace less capable conventional silicon IGBTs in high-power, high-voltage applications,” Cengiz Balkas, vice president and general manager, Cree power and RF said.
Cree notes that it has had a history of SiC technology firsts including the first 1200V SiC MOSFET and the first production 1200V and 1700V SiC Schottky diodes. Samples of all these high-power devices are available immediately, with production volumes targeted for fall 2012. Preliminary datasheets are available upon request for samples in die form.
SDK to Form JV with Toyoda Gosei for GaN LED Business
LIGHTimes News Staff
April 30, 2012...Japanese company, Showa Denko K. K. (SDK) reports that it plans to form a joint venture with Toyoda Gosei for the production and sale of GaN LEDs.
Showa Denko K.K. (SDK) has decided to split its business in gallium-nitride (GaN)-based blue LED chips, and transfer 70% of shares in the new company to Toyoda Gosei Co., Ltd. (Toyoda Gosei), by the end of this year. The joint venture will be established in the area of GaN LED chips being produced at SDK’s plant in Chiba Prefecture.
SDK produces and sells a wide variety of LED chips, including aluminum-gallium-indium-phosphide (AlGaInP), gallium-arsenide (GaAs), gallium-phosphide (GaP) in addition to GaN. SDK says it is already cooperating with Toyoda Gosei, a maker and developer of GaN LEDs. SDK says that By establishing a joint venture with Toyoda Gosei for the GaN LED business, SDK will expand overall supply capacity. SDK indicated that that it hopes the cooperation will synergistically effect it R&D in improving brightness and production efficiency. SDK will reportedly continue its independent operations making LEDs with materials other than GaN. The joint venture is tentatively called TS Opto Co., Ltd.
Amalfi Semiconductor to Expand CMOS PA Business with $20 Million in New Funding
CompoundSemi News Staff
April 30, 2012...Amalfi Semiconductor of Los Gatos, California, USA, a maker of power amplifier solutions for cellular handsets, reports that it has raised an additional $20 million from existing investors Battery Ventures, DCM and Globespan Capital Partners. Amalfi plans to use the funds to expand its business operations and accelerate new product development programs of its next-generation CMOS power amplifier technologies. The company also announced that it has shipped over 75 million transmit modules.
In August 2011, Amalfi launched its second-generation AdaptiveRF™ architecture, designed to deliver industry-leading performance at significantly reduced costs compared to traditional GaAs-based modules.
Mark Foley, CEO and President at Amalfi stated, “We’ve had a tremendous year and a dramatic ramp up in the adoption of our products. As we grow rapidly, this additional funding accelerates our next phase of product development, while allowing us to guarantee exceptional customer service.”
“We have clearly been able to demonstrate the benefits of our CMOS technology at the 2G level,” added Foley. “We will further drive these price and performance benefits for feature and entry-level smartphones while introducing new advanced products that apply these same CMOS integration benefits to 3G and LTE mobile phones and data terminals.”
RF Micro Devices Unveils rGaN-HV(TM) Process Technology for Power Device Products and Foundry Customers
April 30, 2012...RF Micro Devices, Inc, of Greensboro, North Carolina USA announced that its GaN process now includes a new technology for high voltage power devices in power conversion applications. According to RFMD, its rGaN-HV™ enables substantial system cost and energy savings in power conversion applications ranging from 1 to 50 KW. RFMD asserts that rGaN-HV delivers device breakdown voltages up to 900 volts, high peak current capability, and ultra-fast switching times for GaN power switches and diodes.
The new technology complements RFMD's GaN 1 process, which is optimized for high power RF applications and delivers high breakdown voltage over 400 volts, and RFMD's GaN 2 process, which is optimized for high linearity applications and delivers high breakdown voltage over 300 volts. RFMD says it will manufacture discrete power device components for customers in its Greensboro, NC, wafer fabrication facility (fab) and provide access to rGaN-HV to foundry customers for their customized power device solutions.
Bob Bruggeworth, President and Chief Executive Officer of RFMD, said, "We expect our newest GaN power process will expand our opportunities in the high-voltage power semiconductor market, and we are pleased to provide access to rGaN-HV to our external foundry customers to support their success in the high-performance power device market."
Berkeley Researchers Improve Solar Cell Efficiency By Making it Emit More Light
CompoundSemi News Staff
April 23, 2012...Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, have suggested that solar cells should be more like LEDs. The researchers claim to have demonstrated that solar cells should be designed to emit light as well as absorb it to maximize efficiency. The research team from Bereley will present its findings at the Conference on Lasers and Electro Optics (CLEO: 2012), to be held May 6-11 in San Jose, Calif.
“What we demonstrated is that the better a solar cell is at emitting photons, the higher its voltage and the greater the efficiency it can produce,” says Eli Yablonovitch, principal researcher and UC Berkeley electrical engineering professor.
The researchers came across a thermodynamic link between absorption and emission of light. “If you have a solar cell that is a good emitter of light, it also makes it produce a higher voltage,” which in turn increases the amount of electrical energy that can be harvested from the cell for each unit of sunlight, graduate student Owen Miller asserted.
In 2011, Alta Devices of the Bay Area, which Yablonovitch co-founded, created a GaAs-based prototype solar cell that achieved a record 28.3 percent efficiency in part by allowing more light to escape. They increased the reflectivity of the rear mirror, which sends incoming photons back out through the front of the device. Yablonovitch says he hopes researchers will be able to use this technique to achieve efficiencies close to 30 percent in the coming years for single junction cells and help improve all solar cells.
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