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Electronics Production | November 14, 2006

STMicro and Velox in joint project

STMicroelectronics and Velox Semiconductor Corporation announced an agreement to jointly introduce GaN (Gallium nitride) Schottky diodes into the market, with a long term goal of establishing both companies as dual-source suppliers of the devices.
GaN-based diodes will enable the design and production of Switch Mode Power Supplies (SMPS) for computers, consumer applications, and industrial products that are smaller, more efficient, and lower cost.

ST and Velox offer complementary skills that the two companies believe will accelerate the development of the critical technologies - increasing the likelihood of success, leveraging the capital costs required, and increasing the quantity and quality of product offerings available. Velox has developed 600-volt GaN Schottky diodes and the diodes are in the final stages of development before transition to production. ST will help complete the development, perform product qualification, and will market and distribute the diodes.

In the first phase of the agreement, ST intends to test and qualify all the devices, and use its worldwide distribution system to market and distribute GaN Schottky diodes under the Velox brand name. In the second phase Velox and ST expect to be full dual sources. Velox is licensing its production technology for the devices to ST to enable second-source manufacturing; both companies are working together to synchronize manufacturing and quality systems. These synchronization efforts may delay the start of the production originally planned by Velox, though the resulting delay will ensure an agile and consistent supply of GaN devices.

"Both companies believe that the GaN devices will provide one of the best trade-offs for the 600-volt power device market in the medium term," said Ricardo de Sa EARP, General Manager, Application Specific Discretes Division, STMicroelectronics. "We believe that the deal with Velox enables ST to introduce a new and fast-growing product line, quickly, and with the minimum of R&D and capital investment."

"Our agreement with ST will help Velox to answer our customers' needs for reliability of supply, and will enable faster qualification at a larger number of customers," said Thomas Hierl, CEO of Velox Semiconductor. "Combining ST's manufacturing, reliability and quality expertise with Velox GaN technology will create a true dual-source supply for GaN devices."

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