LONDON Freescale Semiconductor Inc. said Monday (Jan. 30) that it had developed the industry's first gallium arsenide (GaAs) metal oxide semiconductor field effect transistor (MOSFET). The development is set to enable improved power amplifier and low-power, high-speed semiconductor devices and could transform analog-to-digital conversion technology, Freescale (Austin, Texas) claimed.
Silicon-based MOSFET technology is the basis of CMOS and digital logic and is used increasingly for analog and radio frequency applications. Gallium arsenide is intrinsically a faster material than silicon but prior to Freescale's development fundamental limitations prevented the application of industry-standard MOSFET processes, equipment, and interconnect methods in GaAs. Freescales’ latest development is set to change the technology landscape for a material that generates less noise and conducts electrons up to 20 times faster than traditional silicon, Freescale said.
The industry's previous inability to deploy silicon dioxide or other dielectric materials into GaAs device technologies had prohibited the incorporation of metal oxide gate structures that are critical to the creation of viable GaAs-based MOSFET devices. Freescale has identified GaAs-compatible materials and devices that provide scaling capabilities on par with traditional silicon materials. This eliminates oxide-semiconductor interface defect issues that had discouraged the creation of high performance MOSFET devices based on GaAs compounds in the past.
Freescale said that it anticipates that early generations of GaAs-based MOSFET devices will be highly specialized and designed to complement traditional semiconductor technology. Freescale plans to accelerate deployment of the technology by collaborating with partners with particular efforts being applied to communications infrastructure, wireless and optoelectronic products that require extreme computing performance.
“This remarkable achievement overturns industry assumptions and has the potential to fundamentally change the way high performance semiconductors are designed, manufactured and deployed,” said Sumit Sadana, senior vice president of strategy and business development and acting chief technology officer for Freescale, in a statement.
“Freescale's GaAs MOSFET technology holds the promise of having a disruptive impact in the industry,” said Asif Anwar, GaAs Services director for industry analysis firm Strategy Analytics, in the same statement.