To reinforce the position of Europe’s semiconductor and electronics industry within global competition, eleven institutes within the Fraunhofer Group for Microelectronics have, together with the Leibniz Institute for Innovations for High Performance Microelectronics (IHP) and the Ferdinand-Braun-Institut, Leibniz-Institut für Höchstfrequenztechnik (FBH), come up with a concept for a cross-location research factory for microelectronics and nanoelectronics. On April 6, 2017, this new organization got off the ground.
The concept for the research fab was designed jointly by Fraunhofer and Leibniz to combine their competences in a pool for technologies. For the modernization and extension of their equipment the 13 research facilities receive around 350 million euros from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
The focus of the cross-institute work will lie on four future-relevant areas of technology. Fraunhofer IAF coordinates the technology park »Compound semiconductors«. In order to build and expand the required capabilities, IAF will invest 15.6 M€ in new equipment for epitaxy, processing, packaging and measurement technolgy.
Compound Semiconductors and Special Substrates
The special properties of compound semiconductors make it possible, in addition to the options offered by the »Silicon-based technologies« technology park, to realize leading-edge devices and circuits for frequencies of up to 800 GHz, power transistors based on wide-bandgap semiconductors, and optoelectronic devices.
Compound semiconductors are – apart from silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride on silicon (GaN-on-Si) – not compatible with silicon-based technologies when it comes to wafer diameter and process control. One important role of the “Compound semiconductors and special substrates” will therefore be the provision of III-V wafers and chips for heterointegration with the silicon electronics. This will allow the potential offered by devices and circuits based on compound semiconductors to be made usable for customers.
Furthermore, this technology park is positioned to be able to provide further development for special substrates such as SiC and aluminum nitride (AlN) for the next generation of power devices. Other new developments such as power electronics based on the semiconductor gallium oxide (GaO) or diamond can be picked up on later.