Power Semiconductors

GlobalFoundries to boost GaN manufacturing with $35 million award

19 October 2023

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has awarded pure play foundry GlobalFoundries (GF) with $35 million to bolster its gallium nitride (Gan) on silicon semiconductors at its Essex Junction, Vermont fab.

The U.S. government is seeking to accelerate the manufacturing of GaN chips for use in the aerospace and defense, cellular communication, industrial internet of things (IIoT) and automotive sectors. The funding will help GF to get closer to large-scale production of GaN chips that are increasing in demand for applications like 5G and 6G cellular, power grids, critical infrastructure and other emerging areas.

GF said the funding, which was awarded through the DoD's Trusted Access Program Office (TAPO), will allow it to:

  • Improve speed of development
  • Assure supply of GaN chips
  • Increase U.S. competitiveness
  • Purchase new tools
  • Reduce dependency on outside supply chain sources
  • Bring 200 mm GaN close to at-scale

“GaN on silicon is an ideal technology for high performance radio frequency, high voltage power switching and control applications for emerging markets, and it’s important for 6G wireless communications, industrial IoT, and electric vehicles,” said Dr. Thomas Caulfield, president and CEO of GF. “These chips will enable our customers to realize bold new designs that push the envelope of energy efficiency and performance of critical technologies we rely on every day.”

Spending spree

The move follows a spending spree by the U.S. government into GF and its processes.

Last month, GF was awarded a $3.1 billion, 10-year contract from the DoD to supply the government with domestically made semiconductors. Prior to this deal, GF became accredited as a Category 1A trusted supplier to the U.S. government. This certification allows the foundry to manufacture secure semiconductors for the aerospace and defense sectors for the government.

Additionally, over the past two years, GF has been working with the DoD to build semiconductors at its Malta facility including a contract for 45 nm silicon-on-insulator (SOI) platform. GF also won a chip contract for $117 million to supply the DoD to supply semiconductors for national security systems.

To contact the author of this article, email PBrown@globalspec.com

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