Wolfspeed Has Pioneered Silicon Carbide and is Ready to take it Mainstream

Wolfspeed Has Pioneered Silicon Carbide and is Ready to take it Mainstream

As a junior engineer, I first heard about Gallium Nitride (GaN) in the late 90s and was mesmerized by it. I began looking into the literature around this technology and remember reading that it was impossible to mass produce GaN on Silicon Carbide. So, I closed that figurative door, remained interested and spent most of my career working with silicon at a number of leading companies, including Apple, Freescale and Facebook.

In 2019, I was approached by Wolfspeed to head its wireless technology development department leveraging GaNon Silicon Carbide to produce RF technologies and products. At the time, my initial thought was no. I was comfortable working for Facebook Connectivity Labs and empowered by its mission to Connect the Unconnected and eliminate the digital divide.

But Silicon Carbide wouldn’t get out of my head. I was intrigued and wanted to challenge myself. The opportunity to work with Wolfspeed to convert an entire industry from one substrate to another and deliver greater efficiencies potentially saving hundreds of thousands of metric tons of greenhouse gases was too tempting, and so, I took the job. A transformation of that caliber hadn’t occurred since the digital revolution. And since then, Wolfspeed hasn’t disappointed.

Lots of innovation and progress has happened in the RF industry over the past 30 years. Currently our team at Wolfspeed is working to tackle the phenomenon of trapping in GaN, which affects the technology’s abilities and performance. 

Trapping occurs when energy gets stuck in a defect or well of the semiconductor’s crystal lattice. The technology that we are working on now is doing just that; the effects of trapping are barely noticeable.

We believe Wolfspeed is most attractively positioned to tackle the issue of trapping because we can design both the transistor and the process itself through the company’s seamless vertical integration and synergy between materials, power and RF manufacturing to mitigate trapping. Trying to improve upon this technology to better supply the growing demand will be critical in the years to come as we prepare for the next generation of telecommunications technology.

5G promises to bring another revolution of connectivity services that extend beyond calls, texts, and internet access to faster emergency response, connected cars and autonomous delivery and supply chain machinery. Experts believe it may usher in the true information age and we at Wolfspeed believe GaN and Silicon Carbide have an important role to play.

Our fiercest competitors used to be the loudest opponents of the transition to GaNon Silicon Carbide – even I didn’t always believe in the possibilities – but Wolfspeed is reaping the rewards. We lead the number of patents related to Silicon carbide materials and RF GaN on SiCtechnology with over 1,000 issued patents. Our unmatched portfolio of intellectual property is complemented by Wolfspeed’s vertical integration. We manufacture Silicon Carbide from scratch – meaning we control the process from crystal growth through wafer manufacturing, device designs to product development.

Wolfspeed’s three businesses, materials, power and RF all work together. We leverage expertise from different industries and business units to produce not only the greatest products, but also to recruit collaborative and inquisitive thinkers who are the best in their fields.

An incredible amount of innovation has happened over the past 30 years at this company, since we invented and pioneered Silicon Carbide semiconductors, and in the industry at-large. While innovation at Wolfspeedis well proven, we’re now focused on leveraging that innovation to enable progressive companies to transformentire industries.

It’s time for Silicon Carbide and GaN on Silicon Carbide to usher in a new era of energy efficiency across industries. With Wolfspeed’s leadership we can bring this technology to the masses, a feat many leaders in our industry deemed impossible only 30 years ago, and usher in a monumental shift

Read Also

Our Wireless World: How Wi-Fi 6 will seamlessly Integrate with 5G to Help Keep us Connected

David Haynes, Vice President, Specialty Technologies for Lam Research's Customer Support Business Group (CSBG)

How IP brings technological innovation to life

Kristof Beets, Vice President of Technology Insights, Imagination Technologies

New Ip Strategies For The Digital Economy

Andreas Iwerbac, Director Group Technology & IP IntelligenceHusqvarna Group

Open Innovation

Joseph Codispoti, Chief Intellectual Property Counsel at BEDGEAR

Making the Switch from Prototyping to Production

Bob Yancey, Business Development Director, Hexcel