ESPOO, Finland – Picosun Group, the leading supplier of AGILE ALD® (Atomic Layer Deposition) thin film coating solutions for global industries, strengthens its position in power electronics market with several cluster ALD system sales to prominent manufacturers in Europe, USA and Asia.
“Power electronics is an important, fast growing market for Picosun. ALD has potential to solve various challenges manufacturers are facing in this field, and our solutions have enabled our customers to create significant added value in terms of device quality and throughput. At Picosun, we have developed several turn-key production ALD solutions specifically for 4-8 inch wafer markets such as power devices. Especially our cluster ALD systems, such as the PICOSUN® Morpher which we launched last year, have been extremely well received by our customers,” says Juhana Kostamo, Head of Customer Solutions/Deputy CEO of Picosun.
Power components are crucial in a wide range of applications from consumer electronics to transportation, energy production and distribution, including renewables such as wind and solar power generation. These components are typically manufactured on 4-8 inch compound semiconductor wafers such as GaN and SiC. These materials provide various benefits compared to pure silicon, for example higher electron mobility, higher threshold voltage, and ability to operate at higher temperatures. Challenges do exist, however, as GaN and SiC power devices are prone to high interface trap density (leading to parasitic currents and reduced electron mobility) and gate leakage current, and poor threshold voltage stability.
Interface trap density can be reduced by combining pre-cleaning methods with high permittivity, large bandgap insulators. High quality, defect-free high-k dielectric layers such as Al2O3, AlN or ZrO2 etc. are key in reducing power devices’ gate leakage current and to improve electron mobility and threshold voltage stability. A good example here are GaN-based HEMTs (high electron mobility transistors), which are important in various large scale practical applications, and which require efficient gate insulation and surface passivation to achieve optimal functionality.
ALD stands as a superior deposition method here compared to other thin film coating technologies such as PECVD, as ALD produces the most conformal, uniform, and defect-free films with accurate, digitally repeatable thickness control and sharp interfaces. With the right selection of ALD deposition equipment, even multilayer processing is possible i.e. various functional material layers and/or stacked films/nanolaminates can be manufactured in one process run.