“ST is a market leader in SiC & GaN markets and extremely optimistic on the opportunity for growth in both.”

Electronics Media  editor Pratibha Rawat interviewed Filippo, Di Giovanni, Director Strategic Marketing, Innovation, and Key Programs, Power Transistor Division, STMicroelectronics , about STMicroelectronics(ST)  growing investment in WBG semiconductors. He explained why SiC & GaN are promising future for Power electronics industry and ST’s roadmap for Gallium Nitride.

Electronics Media: STMicroelectronics has a strong position in SiC business. What is driving ST to make more investment in WBG semiconductors (GaN)?

Filippo, Di Giovanni: We see GaN – like SiC – as a very promising compound material with advantages for applications across the automotive, industrial and personal electronics markets. The acquisition of a majority stake in Exagan strengthens our global technology leadership in power semiconductors and our long-term GaN roadmap, ecosystem and business and supplements developments with CEA-Leti in Tours, France, and the recently-announced collaboration with TSMC.

What is ST’s perspective, in terms of business, for both of these WBG semiconductors?

Filippo, Di Giovanni: ST is extremely optimistic on the opportunity for growth in both the SiC and GaN markets and we’re investing appropriately to build solid and reliable supply chains to ensure that we’re a market leader in both. This is exactly what ST had done with its acquisition of SiC substrate-maker Norstel AB to create full vertical integration within ST.

ST has been already engaged with GaN activities with MACOM, CEA-LETI and TSMC.  Can we expect more happenings?

Filippo, Di Giovanni:ST is firmly committed to establishing and maintaining a leadership position in GaN through tailored initiatives, as we are doing in SiC.

How does ST Position GaN in its product portfolio? When can we expect ST’s GaN product in market?Filippo, Di Giovanni: Designers are enticed by GaN products because of their intrinsic capability to reduce losses and work at very high frequencies, and therefore, improve system efficiency, which allows smaller passive components  and further enables system miniaturization. In this respect, the GaN products complement existing SiC products.Also GaN products are made on a silicon substrate that can be manufactured in CMOS-like fabs using existing 8-in. equipment.

What is your intake on “GaN is silicon of future”?

Filippo, Di Giovanni: Applications require a range of technologies to meet a broad range of challenges. GaN, SiC, and Si all have particular strengths and weaknesses and engineers will continue to make decisions to use the best approach to deliver value to their customers. ST has, and will continue, to innovate and offer the full range of options to our customers so they can choose the best technology for their products.

What will be the role of GaN in automotive market (48V or traction drive)? Is there any specific market ST is targeting for GaN?

Filippo, Di Giovanni : ST sees a big opportunity for GaN in both automotive and industrial markets and that has led us the recent moves with TSMC and Exagan, on top of our existing activities on power GaN in progress at our site in Tours, France and with CEA-Leti. Low voltage (100V) products can address mild hybrid (48V battery) platforms whereas 650V switches fit into OBC and DC-DC converters for all EV variants

What is ST’s product road map for the next five years considering the power electronics market?

Filippo, Di Giovanni :ST aims to introduce a full range of GaN transistors at both 100V and 650V for applications in automotive, industrial and personal electronics. Of course packaging innovation goes hand in hand with chip technology in order to exploit the unique features of this material