Trade Resources Industry Views IQE Is to Play a Key Part in a US Public-Private Consortium

IQE Is to Play a Key Part in a US Public-Private Consortium

Epiwafer foundry and substrate maker IQE plc of Cardiff, Wales, UK is to play a key part in a US public-private consortium of more than 25 companies, universities and state and federal organizations selected to lead the Next Generation Power Electronics Innovation Institute, as announced on 15 January by US President Obama during a visit to consortium leader North Carolina State University (NCSU) in Raleigh, NC.

As well as 7 universities and labs (NCSU, The University of North Carolina, Arizona State University, Florida State University, University of California at Santa Barbara, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, National Renewable Energy Laboratory), the consortium includes 18 industry partners (ABB, APEI, Avogy, Cree, Delphi, Delta Products, DfR Solutions, Gridbridge, Hesse Mechantronics, II-VI, IQE, John Deere, Monolith Semiconductor, RF Micro Devices, Toshiba International, Transphorm, USCi, and Vacon).

The formation of the institute is part of the US Government's National Network for Manufacturing Innovation Initiatives (NNMI), announced by The White House in February 2013 to bolster the competitiveness of US manufacturing.

Supported by a $70m investment over five years by the Advanced Manufacturing Office within the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) as well as a matching $70m in non-federal cost-share from the consortium partners, the Next Generation Power Electronics Innovation Institute aims to invent and manufacture wide-bandgap (WBG) semiconductor-based power electronics that, within the next five years, are cost-competitive and 10 times more powerful than current silicon-based technology on the market.

IQE has been selected as supplier to the consortium of epitaxial materials for the development of a 150mm gallium nitride on silicon (GaN-on-Si) power electronics capability for high-voltage (600-1200V) applications (an award worth up to $4m over the next five years). GaN-on-Si is a key materials technology not only for highly efficient power semiconductors (with applications ranging from everyday power supplies for consumer electronics to industrial motor controls and hybrid-electric vehicles) but also for RF applications in next generation base-station and small-cell RF communication networks, as well as highly cost-efficient LEDs, high-speed rail and other power-efficient applications.

GaN has been a key materials technology initiative for IQE over the last few years, building on the acquisition of NanoGaN in 2010, Kopin Wireless in 2013, and the development and deployment of gallium nitride on silicon carbide (GaN-on-SiC) technology for high-power RF applications, culminating in the launch of what was claimed to be the world’s first 150mm GaN-on-SiC wafer products in 2013.

The announcement of the institute “highlights the importance of materials such as gallium nitride as a key enabling technology for the future,” says IQE’s CEO & president Dr Drew Nelson. “IQE has built a diversified portfolio of advanced compound semiconductor products which are now beginning to impact many aspects of today's and tomorrow's advanced technologies targeting wireless communications, optoelectronics, infrared and x-ray detection, clean energy generation (CPV), power-efficient devices and next-generation CMOS,” he adds.

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Iqe to Be Key Partner in Next Generation Power Electronics Innovation Institute