Shortlist Announced

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Key dates:
Nominations Open
Nominations Open
• 24th September 2013

Nominations Close
Nominations Close
• 12th December 2013

Voting Opens
Voting Opens
• 14th January 2014

Voting Closes
Voting Closes
• 20th February 2014

Winners Announced
Winners Announced
• 21st February 2014

Awards Ceremony
Awards Ceremony
• 18th March 2014

The CS Industry Awards 2014 ceremony is by invite only, for all information please contact:

Jackie Cannon 
CS Industry Awards Event Organiser 
Tel: 00 44 1923 690 200 

Substrates & Materials Award

IQE, Plc

Large gallium nitride on silicon carbide substrates (150mm GaN on SiC)

Last May IQE launched gallium nitride based; high electron mobility transistor (GaN HEMT) epitaxial wafers on 150mm diameter semi-insulating SiC substrates*.

IQE says that GaN power amplifiers offer superior power capability, efficiency, bandwidth and linearity compared to silicon or GaAs-based technologies. They provide significant benefits in terms of higher performance and lower overall system costs.

GaN-based low-noise amplifiers also exhibit improved robustness, noise figure and dynamic range when compared to incumbent solutions.

In addition, GaN-based transistors can operate at high temperatures, thus reducing system cost, size and weight. As a result, GaN transistors are now established as a leading new technology for a wide range of defence applications.

The 150mm GaN HEMT epi wafer products also enable cost reduction, production capacity and yield improvement, as well as potential for insertion into a wider range of chip fabrication facilities. To date, commercial market penetration of GaN HEMTs has been limited by the higher cost of epitaxial material grown on 100mm SiC substrates.

GaN HEMT fabrication using LDMOS (laterally diffused metal oxide semiconductor) process lines has been demonstrated by IQE's customers and the firm's 150mm products are compatible with existing LDMOS processing lines that have been made available as a result of the silicon industry's transition to 200mm technology.

*The substrates are supplied by the WBG Materials subsidiary of II-VI Inc.

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Kyma Technologies

PVDNC AlN Templates

PVDNC™ AlN stands for plasma vapor deposition of nanocolumns. Kyma deposits nanocolumnar AlN on silicon and sapphire substrates to create a great nucleation surface for growth of GaN devices thereupon. Device fabricators realize better (lower defect density) GaN buffer layers earlier in the buffer layer growth process. A lower defect density translates to higher thermal conductivity and presents other benefits depending on the device application. Kyma supplies both materials and equipment for making PVDNC™ AlN templates, which is growing in importance in supporting GaN on sapphire based LEDs and GaN on Si power electronics.

The most difficult part of growing a GaN device on sapphire or silicon is in the initiation of the buffer layer. Kyma's PVDNC™ AlN materials present the ultimate in terms of a great nucleation surface for growing GaN based devices on top of it.

The PVDNC™ process creates a nanostructured AlN surface which is optimal to nucleate GaN growth on top. The process works on both flat and patterned substrates. PVDNC™ puts an important nanostructure on top of flat or microstructured substrates.

PVD was thought to be a low-tech approach to growing crystalline films. However, Kyma's PVDNC™ process can create perfect nanowires of GaN. When applied to AlN for GaN device applications, PVDNC™ produces a unique ensemble of highly oriented, highly perfect, AlN nanocolumns that together present an optimal surface for GaN nucleation.

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Rubicon Technology, Inc

Patterned Sapphire

Last October Rubicon Technology Inc, a provider of sapphire substrates and products to the LED, semiconductor, and optical markets announced the launch of the first commercial line of large diameter patterned sapphire substrates (PSS) in four-inch through eight-inch diameters.

This new product line provides LED chip manufacturers with a ready-made source of large diameter PSS to serve the needs of the rapidly growing LED general lighting industry.

Most high-brightness LED manufacturers etch a pattern into the sapphire wafers in order to both improve epitaxial growth and extract more light from each chip. Patterned sapphire substrates have been available for purchase in smaller diameters, but Rubicon is the first to offer highly customizable 6" and 8" PSS. The larger substrates increase chipmakers' throughput and efficiency.

Rubicon offers fully customizable sub-micron patterning capability with tight dimensional tolerances, within ±0.1 µm. With the edge exclusion zone as small as 1 mm, Rubicon offers LED chip manufacturers more usable area to maximize the number of chips per wafer.

Patterning is available in a range of shapes including cone, dome and pyramid, and in a range of orientations. Further customization of geometry, pattern and orientation is available upon request.

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SEMI-GAS Systems

Low Vapour Pressure Liquefied Gases for MOCVD

Last year SEMI-GAS Systems introduced a new Xturion custom gas source system that delivers low vapour pressure liquefied process gases in vapour phase.

VaporX is suitable for hazardous and non-hazardous gas applications and is designed to accommodate many of the low vapour pressure gases used in semiconductor, LED and solar cell production as well as in research and development and other high purity markets.

Xturion VaporX systems are available in one and two process cylinder models, each featuring a GigaGuard PLC controller and an ergonomically positioned 8" touch screen. The unit's intuitive display schematics enable easy control over all the system's operations including gas delivery, system alarms automatic cylinder switchover and auto-purge capabilities.

The GigaGuard controller automatically interrupts gas flow and initiates a shutdown in the event of a sensor alarm trip, while an Emergency Shutoff (EMO) button offers immediate manual operator shutdown. LED lights display the systems' status, while an audible alarm accompanies flashing lights alerting the operator should a hazardous condition occur.

Each system is CE certified and is manufactured with ultra-high purity components. The system features pneumatically operated valves, Magnehelic and pressure switch exhaust monitoring as well as an optional point-of-use mass flow controller box with heated low vapour pressure mass flow controllers.

To guard against undesirable process gas liquefaction and to help sustain the system's cylinder temperatures and flowrates, VaporX is designed with an integrated fully automatic multi-zone heat control package which includes process gas cylinder heating blankets, gas manifold heat tracing, and process gas line heat tracing. All heat zones are independently controlled and employ redundant temperature measurement with over-temperature protection.

The standard two cylinder (2CE) model is 86" tall, 33" wide and 23" deep, including the external side-mounted heater controller enclosure. Various safety features come standard, such as a UL-approved fire sprinkler, a 1/4" thick safety glass window, a self-closing, self-latching door, and a stainless steel cylinder scale. Heavy cast aluminium cylinder brackets and adjustable cylinder shelves ensure safe and secure gas cylinder fit-up.

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Compound Semiconductor Manufacturing Award

DAS Environmental Expert GmbH


LARCH is a Point-of-Use waste gas treatment system especially designed for MOCVD processes. It is capable of treating large flows of Hydrogen and Ammonia as well as small flows of metal-organics and dopants, which are typically found in common LED processes.

Low investment and operating costs, simple, robust design and low environmental impact (no CO2 emissions, minimum NOx emission) characterize LARCH. The maintenance interval is expected to exceed six months.

Operating Principle

The system operates in three steps. First, the process waste gases are introduced through a special packed inlet into the decomposition zone. There decomposition of Ammonia (2NH3à N2 +3H2) takes place. Following the Hydrogen is electrically ignited and oxidized. The waste gases are burned and oxidized within the reactor (2H2 + O2 à 2H2O). Finally the waste gases are cooled (< 60 °C), which can be released into the environment without any further treatment as they meet the strict German standards for air pollution (TA Luft).

  • No CO2 emissions: no greenhouse gases, low NOx emissions
  • No Wastewater: no trouble with NH4+wastewater limits
  • Treatment of H2 at the Point-of-Use: Maximum Security regarding H2
  • Simple and robust Design: low investment costs, low CoO, low maintenance
  • Internal Security: H2 dilution in case of fire

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The PHABLE™ (for "photonics enabler") is a patented technology that is targeted for low-cost fabrication of periodic nanostructures that are mainly needed for patterned sapphire substrates (PSS) and photonic applications right now.

PHABLE™ is a mask based UV photolithography technology, enabling full advantage of existing photo resist and photomask infrastructure. It enables the creation of periodic structures, such as arrays of holes or pillars on a hexagonal or square lattice, or linear gratings over large areas, with high throughput. The unique feature of PHABLE is the very large depth of focus for optical printing. Unlike any conventional proximity, contact or projection lithography technologies, the printed features are independent of the exposure gap over several hundred micrometers. Therefore printing on non-flat surfaces, such as LED wafers, is easily accomplished.

The EVG®PHABLE™ exposure system is the first fully-automated production equipment to feature PHABLE™ ("photonics enabler") technology from Eulitha AG, a pioneer in lithography tools based in Villigen PSI, Switzerland. Integrating Eulitha's full-field exposure technology with EVG's well-established nanolithography production platform provides a unique solution for the automated fabrication of photonic nanostructures. The system combines the low cost-of-ownership, ease-of-use and non-contact capabilities of proximity lithography with the sub-micron resolution of lithography steppers to provide low-cost automated fabrication of photonic patterns over large areas. This makes it ideally suited for patterned sapphire substrates (PSS) or to enhance the light extraction (and thus the efficiency) of LED devices. Thus, EVG®PHABLE™ broadens the micro- and nanopatterning process portfolio, providing a unique, very cost-efficient solution to customers in the LED, optics and photonics markets. The novel equipment clearly demonstrates the synergies of Eulithas and EVGs respective technologies.

The EVG®PHABLE™ technology is based on a unique Displacement Talbot Lithography approach, enabling to produce features ranging from three microns down to 200 nm. Furthermore, this technology provides effectively no depth-of-focus limitation or stitching effects which are arising for steppers. Thus, it can be used even on substrates with rather poor total thickness variation. This technology enables to pattern substrates up to six inches in diameter in a single exposure step and therefore the system maintains consistently high patterning throughput independent of the wafer size. In addition provides a very large exposure gap between the mask and wafer, thereby avoiding process-related mask contamination.

The EVG®PHABLE™ system can produce both one-dimensional patterns, such as lines and spaces, as well as two-dimensional patterns, such as hexagonal or square lattices. Thus, it supports a variety of approaches to enhance the light extraction from LEDs or to create patterned substrates. Thus, the field of applications includes LED surface structuring, PSS, photonic crystal applications, nano-wire LEDs and optical gratings. The system can also be configured for photovoltaic, optics or biomedical manufacturing applications.

The EVG®PHABLE™ system is designed specifically for the manufacturing of PSS and photonic components. Leveraging EVG's expertise in photolithography, the system incorporates a unique, contactless, mask-based lithography that enables full-field, high-resolution and cost-efficient micro- and nanopatterning. The unique property of PHABLE™ is a resolution down to 150 nm for regular patterns in a single exposure step. Nonetheless, a mask-substrate separation gap of several tens of micrometers is kept while the image depth can be extended to cover the multiple micrometer thick resist without resolution deterioration. This very high aerial image aspect ratio allows printing of the same high-resolution patterns onto large and highly warped surfaces.

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Veeco Instruments, Inc

GENxplor MBE Deposition System

The GENxplor is a revolutionary new molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) deposition system specifically developed to address the needs of university-based compound semiconductor researchers. Starting from a completely new, innovative architectural concept, the GENxplor system records a number of industry firsts.

The GENxplor is the first MBE system of its size to package all elements into a single platform. Combining the growth/process chamber, buffer chamber, load-lock chamber, and the electronics and controls into a single monolithic frame reduces its footprint by 40% compared to similar MBE systems. The flexible system platform is capable of growing on up to 3" wafers with a wider variety of compound semiconductor materials than ever before including: nitrides, arsenides, phosphides, antimonides, oxides, and novel materials such as graphene. In addition, a modular transfer backbone allows the system to be expanded to add other deposition and metrology technologies.

The GENxplor is able to accommodate more configurations than any other MBE system on the market. The process chamber contains new technologies that expand flexibility and capabilities. The first system specifically designed to work with a full complement of bellows-free retractable sources, sources can be maintained, refilled, or changed in isolation from the growth chamber, allowing customers to use the system continuously for years or perhaps even decades without venting. In addition, the single-frame design with cantilevered growth chamber allows users more convenient access and easier maintenance than ever before. Inside the process chamber, water-cooling is integrated to efficiently remove heat from the system. This dramatically reduces liquid nitrogen consumption and lowers the operating cost of the system by thousands of dollars a year. Since its introduction in 2013, the GENxplor is the best-selling MBE system with five systems sold and counting to customers including University of Oklahoma, University of Nottingham, and McGill University.

Today's university-based researchers are under more constraints than ever. Funding is hard to obtain, lab space is at a premium, time is limited, and the materials science requires increasingly sophisticated equipment to push into new frontiers. The GENxplor incorporates technologies to increase uptime by 80% or more, reduce footprint by 40%, reduce operating costs by thousands of dollars a year, incorporate other deposition or metrology techniques, and increase usability and improve serviceability compared to competitive systems – all at a reduced capital cost.

The GENxplor is the first fully-integrated 3" MBE system designed into a single frame, reducing the footprint by 40%. The only system designed for use with a full complement of bellows-free retractable sources, the GENxplor can be operated in ways never seen before by retracting and isolating sources from the growth chamber, increasing uptime. Additionally, differential source pumping allows users to grow in regimes never before possible. Use of water-cooling throughout the system reduces the need for liquid nitrogen, saving money. Finally, the novel construction with a cantilevered growth chamber provides customers with unparalleled access for usability and serviceability.

Veeco says it is the only company to develop a 3" MBE system fully-integrated into a single platform. The concept of combining the MBE hardware with the electronics and controls to reduce footprint while improving accessibility and serviceability is unique within the industry. Similar MBE systems on the market have three separate modules (MBE hardware, electronics cabinet, and software control computer) with hardware and cabling running along the floor connecting them. Veeco is also the only MBE vendor to offer retractable sources – Knudsen cells that are able to be used at normal working distance from the substrate, retracted behind a gate valve while maintaining electrical connections, and then isolated from the growth chamber for refill and maintenance, all without the use of a bellows (which are prone to failure, potentially resulting in a catastrophic vent of the chamber).

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Metrology, Test and Measurement Award

Bruker Corporation

LumiMap Electroluminescence Tool

In 2013 Bruker Corp. introduced the LumiMap electroluminescence system for optical and electrical characterization on epitaxial (epi) growth wafers for high-brightness (HB) LEDs.

LumiMap is a value-oriented alternative to conventional, multistep, operator-dependent indium dot methods of epi (made by epitaxial growth) wafer characterization. The system features rapid, non-destructive, no post measurement chemical cleaning, software-controlled measurement locations, and repeatable optical and electrical measurement capabilities through forming a temporary LED (light-emitting diode) device on an epi wafer.

The results obtained by LumiMap are well correlated with those on the final HB-LED (high brightness LED) device, providing an early warning of process shifts, which in turn reduces the risk of expensive scrap events and improves yields. Simple wafer exchange and intuitive software provides the industry's easiest to use interface for production quality control, as well as epi process development. The long measurement lifetime of the proprietary conducting probe meets the strictest industry cost of ownership requirements.

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Lake Shore Cryotronics and EMCORE

8500 Series THz System for Material Characterization

The Lake Shore 8500 Series THz System for Material Characterization is a measurement platform that provides the materials development community with a fully integrated solution for exploring THz frequency electronic, magnetic, and chemical properties of materials in cryogenic and magnetic field environments. The system features a coherent, variable frequency continuous wave (CW) THz spectrometer from EMCORE and specially designed THz emitter and detector components which offers high spectral resolution THz-transmission measurements of materials in these extreme environments. Integrated software operates the temperature controller, helium level monitor, superconducting magnet supply, and spectrometer for automated turn-key experimental control.

In the quest to develop high-speed computing, storage, imaging, and communications applications, novel and existing electronic and magnetic materials with favourable high frequency material properties will need to be identified and characterized. The Lake Shore 8500 Series THz System addresses the challenge of the development community seeking to explore the THz-frequency properties of bulk and thin film semiconductors, organic electronics and oxides. Cryogenic temperatures and high magnetic fields are used to tune the THz-frequency response in order to help elucidate the physical mechanisms underlying the material's electronic or magnetic properties. What's more, the continuous-wave THz source offers a more cost effective approach, compared to the more conventional time-domain THz (TDS) spectroscopy, for THz materials characterization. The fully integrated Lake Shore THz system is offered at a cost-point comparable to a stand-alone pulsed-laser source. Also important: The system provides a solution for researchers who do not have the means to build a custom THz characterization system and who lack off-the-shelf software for management and analysis of their experiments. Going into the development of the system, one of Lake Shore's primary objectives was to develop software that was easy to use. The company knew this would be key to how well the system is adopted by the materials development industry – particularly scientists and engineers who do not consider themselves terahertz experts.

Conventionally, low-temperature, high field THz measurements would be performed by placing a sample in the beam path of an optical cryostat and then painstakingly align the terahertz source and detector onto the sample. Lake Shore, in close collaboration with EMCORE, developed robust THz emitter and detector components that have proven to operate quite well at liquid helium temperatures and in magnetic fields up to 9 T. In the 8500 Series THz system, fibre-coupled THz source and detector are mounted within the cryogenic environment and in proximity to the sample. Custom designed optical stages maintain good optical alignment of the THz devices over temperature and multiple thermal cycles. The Lake Shore system uses CW measurements to enable variable temperature measurements of electronic and magnetic materials in two distinct sample types — semiconducting wafers (like InSb or InP) and thin conductive films supported by an insulating substrate (like ZnO/sapphire, graphene on silicon, or 2DEGs). By replacing terahertz time domain technology with less costly, higher resolution CW spectroscopy, instrumentation cost can be reduced by 50 to 75%, opening the technology to a much broader market. What's more, these capabilities are provided in a completely integrated platform that has the software to conduct proceduralized experimental methods and reliably analyse the spectral results.

The Lake Shore 8500 Series THz System for Material Characterization is novel because researchers now have a fully integrated hardware/software platform for THz materials characterization. Using the system requires no special optics knowledge. All of the careful alignment and calibrations of THz spectrometer components have already been done, so users can quickly insert their samples in the special sample holder, install the sample insert in the cooled cryostat, and begin taking measurements. Up until now, THz characterization has been available only to a few well-funded institutions and to researchers who were very skilled in the complexities of optical measurements. The Lake Shore 8500 Series, however, changes all that, making THz characterization with integrated temperature and magnetic field available to many more scientists and researchers, opening new doors as they explore and develop tomorrow's technologies. Plus, they no longer have to manually assemble a system in their lab and then build their own software to manage its operation. In addition, the software enables end users to visualize raw and processed date as they are being acquired by the system. This way, they're provided real-time feedback of the measurement progress. The software processes raw scans into the normalized THz transmission spectra, from which electronic material properties can be derived. The system is also designed to automatically step through temperature or magnetic points automatically without user intervention.

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Pyro 400 Gen2

Pyro 400 Gen2 is a unique optical metrology system for in-situ measurement of the GaN-wafer temperature during LED-structure growth in MOCVD. Pyro 400 Gen2 uses 400nm pyrometry to measure the temperature of the GaN buffer. It can be integrated into the control loop for the growth temperature of the MOCVD system and allows precise control of the wafer temperature during the critical growth steps of an LED structure: The growth of the multi quantum wells. Pyro 400 Gen2 uses a robust state-of-the-art PLC based measurement scheme and is designed for 24/7 use in LED production. In addition to earlier LayTec Pyro 400 generations it offers as a unique feature: real-time emissivity correction to compensate for emissivity changes that occur during the growth of different materials. Pyro 400 Gen2 is controlled and operated by LayTec's EpiNet software. It is also fully integrated into LayTec's fabwide visualization software that allows easy stop-or-go decisions for operators based on traffic lights. Part of the Pyro 400 Gen2 package is the unique calibration tool AbsoluT 400 that allows for an easy but very precise calibration of the Pyro 400 Gen2. Therefore not only wafer-to-wafer and run-to-run variations can be detected and controlled, but also the very important tool-to-tool variations. Pyro 400 Gen2 can be applied to a wide range of MOCVD systems.

Pyro 400 Gen2 solves the challenge of measuring and controlling wafer surface temperatures during the growth of GaN LED-structures on sapphire, even when AlGaN layers or superlattices for better carrier confinement or electron blocking are introduced. Such layers produce changes in the emissivity of the growing layers, directly affecting the measured surface temperature. Earlier versions of 400nm pyrometers were unable to account for emissivity changes and have failed to correctly measure the surface temperature on these structures. Pyro 400 Gen2 also solves the challenge of tool-matching, because the pyrometer can be easily calibrated with LayTec's patented AbsoluT 400 calibration device.

Pyro 400 Gen2 is the first and only 400nm pyrometer on the market to perform emissivity correction pyrometry. Besides the thermal emission from the wafer, the reflectance is also measured, allowing for real-time emissivity measurement. An established technique for IR-pyrometers, emissivity correction has never been implemented in the blue/near-UV spectral range before. The main challenge has been providing a reflectance measurement spectroscopically fitting the black body emission. The emission from the same light source integrated in a regulated device (AbsoluT 400) emulates the emission of a black body at a given temperature and allows for a precise calibration.

Pyro 400 Gen2 is the only product on the market providing the important emissivity correction. It is also the only 400nm pyrometer that has a dedicated and easy-to-use calibration tool. Moreover, due to its integration in the EpiNet software, it is the only 400nm pyrometer that allows real-time control and advanced process control within a fab-wide framework, including traffic light "in-spec/out-of-spec" visualization for operators. Based on pre-defined and growth-run-associated analysis recipes, EpiNet allows to automatically analyze the Pyro 400 Gen2 data. Results can be compared with pre-defined specifications and control limits. In consequence the status of each wafer and run and tool can be displayed on a fab-wide overview screen as: green or yellow or red. In addition, the coating of the viewport by process material, a critical effect that changes the window transparency, can be measured and corrected by Pyro 400 Gen2.

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Tektronix, Inc

PA1000 Single-phase Power Analyser

New semiconductor technologies such as GaN (gallium nitride) and SiC (silicon carbide) are emerging to meet the greater demands of today. To meet these requirements, new test and measurement tools are needed to keep pace.

Last year Tektronix expanded its family of precision power analysers with the introduction of the PA1000 single-phase power analyser.

Featuring a patent pending Spiral Shunt design, the PA1000 provides engineers designing and testing power supplies, consumer electronics and other electrical products with accurate power measurements in the shortest possible time.

Features such as a colour graphical display, one-button application modes and intuitive menu system enable optimum instrument set up in seconds, and the powerful PWRVIEW PC software includes comprehensive reporting features such as a full compliance IEC62301 standby power certificate.

Engineers developing power supplies for single-phase electronics face new demands for greater energy efficiency and lower line pollution, along with a growing array of government regulations and commercial demands to reduce energy consumption.

As new semiconductor technologies emerge, test and measurement tools such as the PA1000 will assume more importance.

The PA1000 claims 0.05 percent basic accuracy and 1 MHz measurement bandwidth. Two internal current shunts are included on each PA1000 - one for current measurements up to 1 A, for precise low-current measurements, and another for current measurements up to 20 A. The 1 A shunt is particularly useful for maintaining measurements resolution and accuracy on demanding low-current signals common to standby power testing.

A full-colour graphics display, unusual in this instrument class, makes setup and other tasks easy and intuitive, with one-button access to measurement results, power waveforms, harmonic bar graphs, and menus.

Application-specific test modes for standby current, lamp ballast testing and energy integration help to simplify optimisation of instrument settings, saving engineers time and reducing mistakes. PWRVIEW PC software further simplifies testing with one-click test automation for compliance-test applications.

The PA1000 offers standard features including LAN, USB and GPIB interfaces, harmonic analysis, and PC software that cost extra on many analysers. A five-year warranty and Tektronix worldwide support and service add to the value proposition.

Based on recent field and metrology analysis, Tektronix has released improved accuracy specifications for the PA4000 power analyser and extended the standard warranty to five years from the previous three years. The new accuracy specifications apply to RMS voltage, RMS current and Power. For instance RMS voltage accuracy was rated at ± 0.04 percent and has now been improved to a rating of ± 0.01 percent.

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Device Design and Packaging Award

Cree, Inc

45mm SiC Six-Pack Power Module

Cree's CCS050M12CM2 is the industry's first commercially available silicon carbide (SiC) six-pack power module in an industry standard 45mm package. When replacing a silicon module with equivalent ratings, Cree's six-pack module can reduce power losses by 75 percent, which leads to an immediate 70 percent reduction in the size of the heat sink or a 50 percent increase in power density.

The new six-pack SiC module unlocks the traditional design constraints associated with power density, efficiency, and cost, allowing designers to create high performance, reliable, and low cost power conversion systems.

When compared to state-of-the-art silicon modules, the SiC 1.2 kV, 50A modules deliver performance equivalent to silicon modules rated at 150A. The efficient switching of the SiC module also allows for significantly less derating than silicon IGBTs. This enables significantly higher frequency operation, which both increases fundamental output frequency and reduces passive component size in applications like motor drives, solar inverters, uninterruptible power supplies, and industrial power supplies. Even when designers simply substitute Si modules with SiC in motor drive applications, the improved performance of SiC reduces power losses, leading to reduced cooling requirements and, in turn, to a reduction in size, weight, complexity, and the overall cost of the power electronics system.

The CCS050M12CM2 six-pack modules from Cree are the industry's first commercially available silicon carbide (SiC) six-pack power module in an industry standard 45mm package and are available for immediate shipping through Digi-Key Corporation and Mouser Electronics.

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Infineon AG

5th Gen 650V SiC Diodes

The new SiC diode technology of Infineon combines a couple of innovations – smallest die area and thus lowest cost for a given power handling capability, optimized trade-off between static and dynamic losses and the worldwide first implementation of thin wafer technology for SiC devices. This new chip technology will soon be implemented in a newly developed packaging platform offering small footprint and very low stray inductance compared to existing solutions. Thus, it is an optimized combination of best in class chip technology with the optimum package in order to utilize the benefits offered by the chip to full extent. >

The new product addresses the trend towards thinner chips in SiC in order to remove the contribution of the substrate to the on resistance as well as the issue of high stray inductance in standard packages which limits the high frequency performance of ultrafast SiC components ad acts as source of unwanted EMI problems.

Infineon developed a grinding process for SiC wafers as well as a high temperature technology to form a reliable and high performing ohmic backside contact after grinding without affecting the at this stage in the process chain already finished front side structure. The resulting chip will be implemented in a newly developed low profile SMD package offering lowest stray inductance by multiple short thin wire bond connections to the terminals and pin free connection to the PCB.

The most noteworthy step in the described innovation is the combination of high temperature backside annealing, realized by local heating, without degrading the Schottky barrier at the front side. Beside the additional fact of a demanding grinding process for SiC itself due to the hardness of the material this represented the biggest challenge in vertical SiC power technology provided thin wafer processing is not guaranteed by a thin starting wafer.

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GaN on GaN LEDs

The main advantage of Soraa's GaN on GaN (Gallium Nitride on Gallium Nitride) LED material is that it allows reliable operation at very high current densities. It has 1000x fewer defects than conventional LEDs, which have GaN layers on cheaper foreign substrates like sapphire, silicon carbide, or silicon. This enbles Soraa LEDs to emit 10x more light per unit area of LED material than conventional LEDs. GaN on GaN's optical transparency and high thermal and electrical conductivity also enable a very robust, simple LED design that delivers maximum light output and performance.

In February 2013, Soraa announced world-record performance from its GaN on GaN LEDs. For applications that require very high light output from tiny form factors – e.g. MR16 lamps – Soraa's Gen 2 LEDs deliver unprecedented performance and color rendering. The SORAA PREMIUM 2 and VIVID 2 LED MR16 lamps use these Gen 2 LEDs.

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Innovation Award

Infineon AG

Direct Drive for CoolSiC

Infineon's CoolSiC transistor is a normally on JFET device, combining the well known low ohmic performance of high voltage SiC transistors with an extraordinary level of ruggedness since no susceptive gate oxide with questions about interface quality and lifetime is used in the component. However, the device is normally on and a way to make it familiar with system requirements must be identified. For comparable wide band gap devices like earlier JFETs or today's normally on GaN HEMTs the traditional cascode arrangement is used. This simple concept offers by a series connection of the normally on component with a normally off low voltage silicon MOSFET (the blocking voltage of the MOSFET must exceed the voltage required to block the device) and connecting the gate of the normally on transistor with the source of the MOSFET. The concept can be easily derived from the equivalent circuit of each DMOS today.

However, this concept has some disadvantages like potential dynamic avalanche stress on the MOSFET or limited controllability of the switching slopes. Thus, a modified setup was developed at Infineon, sill being based on the series connection of the two devices, but now controlling each gate separately. To enable an easy implementation a driver IC was developed to operate the setup. In this mode, the switching is no longer performed via the MOSFET gate, but directly via the JFET. The MOSFET is passive in this configuration and just acts as a safety switch for start up or failure mode in which the original cascode idea is maintained. The concept is called Direct Drive.

The idea deals with the challenge of operating a normally on device safely under modern system aspects and securing lowest losses at the same time. It addresses as well ruggedness problems of competing solutions and requirements from the application with respect to the dv/dt control in PWM operation.

The idea extends the original cascode idea in a way that their negative points are diminished. By disconnecting the gate contact of the normally on JFET from the MOSFET source we can access the main switching devices directly for easy dv/dt control. Furthermore, the MOSFET is no longer switched in each dynamic cycle and thus, no additional MOSFET losses have to be considered. Finally, the MOSFET is not driven in each cycle into avalanche what increases the ruggedness of this circuit.

The novelty of the concept is the extended cascode concept into a direct drive mode which offers a lot of additional advantages and lowest losses combined with high operational stability. Since the control philosophy is integrated into a corresponding driver IC the efforts on the user side is minimized, they can operate the device as they are familiar with from earlier power switches, but taking full advantage from the outstanding performance.

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Kyma Technologies

PVDNC AlN Templates

PVDNC™ AlN stands for plasma vapor deposition of nanocolumns. Kyma deposits nanocolumnar AlN on silicon and sapphire substrates to create a great nucleation surface for growth of GaN devices thereupon. Device fabricators realize better (lower defect density) GaN buffer layers earlier in the buffer layer growth process. A lower defect density translates to higher thermal conductivity and presents other benefits depending on the device application. Kyma supplies both materials and equipment for making PVDNC™ AlN templates, which is growing in importance in supporting GaN on sapphire based LEDs and GaN on Si power electronics.

The most difficult part of growing a GaN device on sapphire or silicon is in the initiation of the buffer layer. Kyma's PVDNC™ AlN materials present the ultimate in terms of a great nucleation surface for growing GaN based devices on top of it.

The PVDNC™ process creates a nanostructured AlN surface which is optimal to nucleate GaN growth on top. The process works on both flat and patterned substrates. PVDNC™ puts an important nanostructure on top of flat or microstructured substrates.

PVD was thought to be a low-tech approach to growing crystalline films. However, Kyma's PVDNC™ process can create perfect nanowires of GaN. When applied to AlN for GaN device applications, PVDNC™ produces a unique ensemble of highly oriented, highly perfect, AlN nanocolumns that together present an optimal surface for GaN nucleation.

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M/A-COM Technology Solutions, Inc

X-Band Core Chip (MAMF-011015)

M/A-COM Technology Solutions Inc. claims an industry first with an integrated core chip for the 8 GHz – 11 GHz frequency range. Containing 6-bits of phase control, 6-bits of attenuation control and 26 dB of gain, the Core Chip is an easy to use serial/parallel interface in a surface mount QFN package. Ideal for commercial radar applications, this integrated MMIC enables radar systems in early detection and warning for severe impending weather.

The X-Band Core Chip (MAMF-011015) is a highly integrated solution setting new standards for size, weight, and performance (SWaP) enabling the next generation of radar system design.

The X-Band Core Chip integrates a CMOS logic driver with a GaAs Transmit/Receive MMIC within a single QFN package. The surface mount 7x7mm plastic package offers a cost-effective, easy to implement solution. The device's versatility and flexibility make it ideal for weather, wildfire and related commercial radar applications.

The X-Band Core Chip development is a product of a joint investment between MACOM and FIRST RF Corporation to support new weather radar programs such as the Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA) Weather Radar Program. CASA is a multi-sector partnership among academia, industry, and government - dedicated to engineering revolutionary weather-sensing networks. These innovative networks save lives and property by detecting the region of the lower atmosphere currently below conventional radar range - mapping storms, winds, rain, temperature, humidity, and the flow of airborne hazards.

The packaged device comprises of a common leg circuit which includes digital attenuators, phase shifters, a low noise receive chain, and a transmit driver amplifier, as well as a CMOS logic driver. This integrated circuit utilizes MACOM's advanced 0.25um PHEMT process, which has been optimized for high power and low noise amplifiers, passive and control components and allows for a high level of integration on a single MMIC.

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R&D Award



In 2013 Imec, a nano-electronics research centre successfully demonstrated the first III-V compound semiconductor FinFET devices integrated epitaxially on 300mm silicon wafers, through a silicon fin replacement process.

The achievement illustrated progress toward 300mm and future 450mm high-volume wafer manufacturing of advanced heterogeneous CMOS devices, monolithically integrating high-density compound semiconductors on silicon.

The breakthrough enables continual CMOS scaling down to 7nm and below, and also enables new heterogeneous system opportunities in hybrid CMOS-RF and CMOS-optoelectronics.

Imec believe this is the world's first functioning CMOS compatible III-V FinFET device processed on 300mm wafers an accomplishment which demonstrates the technology as a viable next-generation alternative for the current state-of-the-art Si-based FinFET technology in high volume production.

The proliferation of smart mobile devices and the ever growing user expectations for bandwidth and connectivity will drive the continual need for software and hardware advancements that extend from networks to data servers and mobile gadgets. At the core of the hardware will be new process technologies that allow for more power-efficient CMOS transistors and increased integration, enabling a higher level of functionality.

This prompts process technologies that enable heterogeneous devices spanning operating ranges for targeted circuits, maximizing the system performance.

During the last decade, transistor scaling has been marked by leaps in process technologies to provide performance and power improvements.

The replacement of poly-silicon gate by high-k metal-gate in 45nm CMOS technology represented a major inflection in new material integration for the transistor.

The ability to combine scaled non-silicon and silicon devices might be the next dramatic transistor next step ending the all-silicon reign over digital CMOS.

This work could represent an important enabling step.

At the finest grain, co-integration of high-density heterogeneous transistors has been challenged by the ability to combine disparate materials and structures while maintaining low enough complexity and defectivity.

Imec's breakthrough process selectively replaces silicon fins with indium gallium arsenide (InGaAs) and indium phospide (InP), accommodating close to eight percent of atomic lattice mismatch. The technique is based on aspect-ratio trapping of crystal defects, trench structure, and epitaxial process innovations. The resulting III-V integrated on silicon FinFET device shows an excellent performance.

Imec's research into next-generation FinFETs is performed as part of imec's core CMOS program, in cooperation with imec's key partners including Intel, Samsung, TSMC, Globalfoundries, Micron, SK Hynix, Toshiba, Panasonic, Sony, Qualcomm, Altera, Fujitsu, nVidia, and Xilinx.

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Soitec SA

4 Junction Cell

Soitec SA claims the industry's first four-junction solar photovoltaic (PV) cell. The design comprises two dual-junction sub cells.

The four-junction design uses two dual-junction sub cells grown on different III-V compound materials, which allows band-gap combinations to capture a broader range of the solar spectrum. In developing the cell, Soitec used its proprietary semiconductor bonding and layer transfer technologies, which have been used in the semiconductor industry for decades.

The cell was developed in collaboration with Fraunhofer ISE and the Helmholtz Center for Materials and Energy (Berlin), which developed and deposited III-V epitaxial layers on new base materials as well as fabricating and characterizing the device. CEA-Leti (Grenoble, France) also participated in the project.

In 2013 Soitec surprised the industry (after three years of research) by entering a new record efficiency of 44.7 percent which was measured at a concentration of 297 suns. This indicates that 44.7 percent of the solar spectrum's energy, from ultraviolet through to the infrared, is converted into electrical energy.

Last year, during a press briefing at Intersolar North America, Soitec announced its plans to produce a 50 percent efficient cell, pushing the NREL efficiency roadmap ahead by 5-10 years.

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