TAIPEI, TAIWAN - March 15, 2001. WIN Semiconductors Corp. (WIN) has successfully completed processing of the world's first, 6-inch, 0.15 micron, GaAs pHEMT MMIC wafer. The fT (current gain cut-off frequency) and fmax (Maximum oscillation cut-off frequency) of these pHEMTs are 85GHZ and 220GHZ, respectively. The details of this outstanding achievement will be presented at the upcoming MTTS and GaAs Mantech Conferences to be held in the United States in May.
This exciting breakthrough for the global communication community was achieved less than six months after the installation of processing equipment at WIN's new fabrication facility. The realization of this milestone demonstrates not only the viability of the 6-inch, 0.15 micron, GaAs pHEMT MMIC process, but also WIN's ability to bring together people, technology, equipment, and facilities in order to form what is expected to be the world's leading GaAs MMIC Foundry.
The 0.15 micron, GaAs pHEMT MMIC technology can be used to produce amplifiers for the growing, Ka-band and high data rate fiber-optical electronics market. Applications within this market are LMDS, satellite telecommunication (SATCOM, VSAT), OC192 & OC768, automotive sensors and point-to-point radio links. This technology can also be used in a variety of niche applications including ultra low-noise CATV tuners, and airplane night landing sensors. Dr. CS Wu, the President/CEO of WIN, has emphasized that the high power and high frequency GaAs MMIC technology will maintain a firm lead over such competing technologies such as low-breakdown-voltage SiGe devices.
The 0.15 micron, GaAs pHEMT MMIC joins a family of technologies employed by WIN. To serve the market for pHEMT devices, WIN now offers the 0.15 micron device in addition to 0.35 and 0.50 micron gate length devices. Additionally, WIN offers production capabilities for 2.0 micron HBT's. The primary application for WIN's 2 micron HBT technology is in advanced L-band PCS/cellular phones; but it is suitable for many other wireless applications in the low frequency range as well. WLAN (potentially for Bluetooth) and two-way pagers are examples of these applications. WIN will offer 1.0 micron HBT's for use of high data rate fiber-optic electronics such as OC192 in 3Q of 2001.
The GaAs pHEMT has become very popular due to the explosive growth in wireless communications. The specific technical knowledge required for 0.15 micron pHEMT processing, and yield limitations, forms market barriers to entry into this arena. There is only a handful of companies (Anadigics, Motorola and BAE Systems in the United States and Infineon, Filtronic in Europe) processing 6-inch GaAs wafers in the world today. And there are only a few, 3 or 4- inch, GaAs processing companies (TRW, Raytheon, BAE Systems in the United States and UMS in Europe) providing 0.15 micron pHEMT technology. WIN is the only company in the world that can apply 0.15 micron pHEMT technology on 6-inch GaAs wafers.
WIN has entered this arena as the first, pure-play, 6-inch GaAs foundry company in the world. The company's technical expertise, and state-of-the-art facility, will increase the competitive advantage of its customers through the delivery of high volume, low cost, technically advanced devices.
Market analysis indicates that the cellular phone industry will remain the largest growth area for the GaAs IC and the current market value of GaAs MMIC is about US$2B. With the demand of high data rate communication, amid the popularity of wireless handset, the telecommunication market will be dominated by fiber optic and broadband communication electronics in the future. The projected GaAs Communication devices yearly production will reach US$4B by year 2003. The current fiber optic and broadband electronics require about 250,000 6-inch equivalent GaAs wafers, according to WIN. This requirement will reach 1,000,000 wafers by 2005.
WIN Semiconductors Corp. was established in October 1999, and broke ground for its corporate offices and wafer fabrication facility in November of the same year. Construction was essentially completed in July 2000. Processing equipment was installed, and later, operating, in September 2000. Industry response has been very positive. Starting as early at test runs in September, the company has been contacted by, and met with, many communication IDM companies and microwave design houses. Production will start during the 1st quarter of 2001, with output rising to 30,000 wafers per year by the end of 2002. In full production, WIN will produce 100,000 wafers per year. At that point, it will be the largest, and most technically advanced, GaAs MMIC Fab in Taiwan. Revenues are expected to exceed $0.5 Billion (US) per year.