EDA Works to Establish Independent European Supply Chain for GaN Technologies

The European Defense Agency (EDA) has lead a multinational research and development project that implemented the entire supply chain for mass production of gallium nitride-based power electronics components within Europe. The group includes research institutions, universities, as well as defense-related companies from Germany, France, Italy, Sweden and the United Kingdom that collaborated during the four-year project MANGA (Manufacturable GaN-SiC-substrates and GaN epitaxial wafers supply chain) to optimize gallium nitride technologies in Europe. Researchers and industry partners aim to optimize development and manufacturing methods for GaN power electronics without relying on non-European suppliers.

The European defense industry faces an increasing demand for reliable supply of power electronic components for defense and combat systems ranging from advanced radar and communication antennas to electronic warfare. The scope of the project reaches from ensuring the availability of Silicon Carbide (SiC) substrates for the epitaxial growth of gallium nitride to the industrial manufacturing of High Electron Mobility Transistors (HEMT).

The researchers grew GaN-based transistor layers epitaxially on high quality SiC-substrates with established foundry processing, to fabricate transistor layers for fully European High Electron Mobility Transistors. According to the researchers, the performance of the HEMT and the quality of the SiC-substrates are comparable to equivalent state-of-the-art components produced in the United States. Scientists of the MANGA project examined the impact of layer structure variations on the device. In a follow-on project, the partners hope to qualify an industrial European wafer supplier for HEMT structures.