Engineered materials and optoelectronic component maker II-VI of Saxonburg, PA, USA has signed a multi-year agreement of over $100m (the firm’s largest ever) to supply silicon carbide (SiC) substrates for gallium nitride (GaN) RF power amplifiers deployed in 5G wireless base stations.
The accelerating rollout of 5G wireless services is driving deeper strategic relationships in the 5G wireless supply-chain ecosystem to meet the market windows, notes II-VI. The new agreement builds on the firm’s experience as a global supplier of SiC substrates for the 4G and 5G markets.
“GaN-on-SiC RF power amplifiers have superior performance compared with devices based on GaN-on-silicon over a wide spectrum of 5G operating frequencies, from the low gigahertz range to millimeter-wave bands,” claims Dr Gary Ruland, VP, Wide Bandgap Semiconductors business unit. “Customers forge strategic partnerships with II-VI because of our long track record of pushing the technology forward with larger substrate diameters and industry-crystal quality,” he adds. “II-VI’s recently announced semi-insulating 200mm silicon carbide substrates, the first in the world, will enable our customers to scale production far into the future.”
Leveraging an intellectual property portfolio of 30 active patents, II-VI is developing SiC substrates using proprietary technologies including crystal growth, substrate fabrication, and polishing. The firm is also expanding its ability to drive the 5G RF roadmap by establishing a vertically integrated, 150mm GaN-on-SiC HEMT device manufacturing platform. In addition to SiC substrates, II-VI provides an array of wavelength management solutions and transceivers for the wireless optical access infrastructure. Altogether, II-VI says that it offers a broad range of materials, devices, components and subsystems to enable the coming large-scale 5G rollout.
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