LONDON – EpiGaN NV, a startup spun out of the IMEC research institute in 2010, has officially opened a production facility for gallium nitride on silicon wafers at the Research Campus in Hasselt, Belgium.
Gallium-nitride is expected to enable more efficient power electronics than is possible in silicon and to be used for power supplies, motor drivers and inverters for solar energy technologies and greener transport. By growing an epitaxial layer of GaN on silicon substrates EpiGaN aims to combine the manufacturing scale of mainstream silicon with the extended performance of GaN.
EpiGaN is offering GaN epitaxial layers deposited either on silicon wafers of up to 150-mm diameter or, for specific applications, on SiC. Wafer diameters of 200-mm are under development.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.