RFMD, a global leader in the design and manufacture of high-performance radio frequency solutions, announced that it will play a key role in developing power electronics to support the next generation of clean energy in the U.S.
RFMD is a foundry and product design/development partner to North Carolina State (NC State) University's Next Generation Power Electronics Innovation Institute, which was awarded a 5-year $70 million contract from the Department of Energy to lead next generation power electronics manufacturing. RFMD was one of four institute partners invited to meet U.S. President Barack Obama at a ceremony to announce the contract award at NC State at 1 p.m. in Raleigh, N.C.
RFMD will offer open foundry services to support the NC State-led program and help accelerate the development of key wide bandgap (WBG) semiconductor products including RFMD's Gallium Nitride-(GaN-) based devices needed to increase the reliability and efﬁciency of the next generation power grid. Wide bandgap semiconductors offer a new opportunity to jumpstart the next generation of smaller, faster, cheaper and more efficient power electronics for personal devices, electric vehicles, renewable power interconnection, industrial-scale variable speed drive motors and a smarter, more flexible grid.
"This government-sponsored award underscores RFMD's commitment to technology and product leadership and will benefit the entire power electronics industry as it transitions to clean, more efficient energy," said RFMD President and CEO Bob Bruggeworth. "The RFMD team is proud to play a key role in the development of power electronic devices based on our leading GaN technologies that will help provide economic and environmental benefits in the U.S. for generations to come."
As NC State's device manufacturer and foundry partner, RFMD's role is to transition current Gallium Nitride- (GaN-) on-silicon carbide technology to 6-inch GaN-on-silicon at the Company's wafer fab in Greensboro, N.C. Compared to silicon-based power transistors, WBG semiconductors such as RFMD's GaN-based devices deliver superior power density, improved power efficiency and higher switching frequencies for next generation smart grid requirements. According to industry analyst firm Strategy Analytics, the GaN microelectronics market is expected to more than triple to $334 million by 2017, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 28%.
NC State's Next Generation Power Electronics Innovation Institute is the first of three manufacturing innovation institutes established by the Obama administration through a Federal commitment of $200 million across five Federal agencies - Defense, Energy, Commerce, NASA, and the National Science Foundation. The other two manufacturing innovation institutes, led by The Department of Defense, will focus on 'Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation' and 'Lightweight and Modern Metals Manufacturing.'