AIXTRONAixtron logo has developed, built and installed a new, specific industrial grade reactor for graphene and hexagonal Boron Nitride (hBN) processing on 200 mm epi-wafers. The new CVD tool was developed as part of the GIMMIK research project and has recently gone into operation.

The GIMMIK project aims to evaluate the production of graphene layers under industrial conditions, spotting weak points and designing ways of eliminating the sources of error. Furthermore, the transfer of the properties of graphene to electrical components by integration into a material environment are to be tested. In parallel, methods for the large-area, contact-free characterization of graphene will be developed, which do not yet exist at present. The GIMMIK research project aims to expand graphene technology for electronic components and to bring it up to a production-relevant level. Participants of the GIMMIK project include: AIXTRON SE, Infineon Technologies, IHP GmbH - Leibniz-Institut für innovative Mikroelektronik, Protemics, LayTec, RWTH Aachen.

The GIMMIK research project (Graphene processing on 200mm wafers for microelectronic applications) should lead to the industrial application of graphene and hBN. Therefore, the production of graphene layers is to be evaluated under industrial conditions. The consortium partners are developing methods to ensure a consistently high graphene and hBN quality as a basis for production suitability for deposition and integration processes.

AIXTRON took a step forward with the production of GR/hBN layers for the consortium partners and the optimization of the layers and processes. "After installation and test of the new CVD system we have taken a decisive step forward in our GIMMIK project. Because we now have the specific system and thus the instrument with which we can start our work on developing of processes for the production of layers with the necessary wafer size and quality. This is extremely important for applications in the fast growing markets of microelectronics and sensor technology", says Professor Dr. Michael Heuken, Vice President Corporate Research & Development of AIXTRON SE and Professor at RWTH Aachen University. "And now we are ready for the next, exciting steps towards new devices and new applications as well as production in this important research project".

The new material graphene and hBN could be a decisive driver in the development of innovative products and in the creation of necessary energy efficiency in view of the climate crisis. A wide range of applications such as transistors, sensors, photonic devices are possible. Due to its extremely high charge carrier mobility, graphene opens up the possibility of manufacturing RF (radio frequency) transistors with cut-off frequencies in the THz range. Numerous applications in energy-efficient high-frequency electronics are conceivable for them. "Graphene and CVD grown hBN could thus make a significant contribution to one of the major challenges, namely the need for significantly higher energy efficiency," emphasizes Prof. Dr. Michael Heuken.

In the automotive sector, graphene can not only be used for sensors for vehicle safety. Mobile applications (smartphones, watches) are playing also an increasingly important role. Graphene is an important building block for achieving competitive advantages with products such as magnetic sensors, microphone pressure sensors or optical sensors in which graphene can be used as a functional and market-differentiating component.

Last but not least, there are new combinations of wafer-level based graphene and silicon photonic devices possible. They would allow Graphene-based modulators with high thermal stability and significantly reduced device footprint and also photodetectors that offer superior performance to currently available photonic integrated components (silicon (Si) semiconductors and III/V semiconductors).