The Silicon Review
Headquartered in Ithaca, NY, Odyssey Semiconductor, Inc. was co-founded by Rick Brown and James R. Shealy. Odyssey Semiconductor has disruptive proprietary technology that would enable gallium nitride (GaN) to displace silicon carbide (SiC) as the dominant high voltage power switching semiconductor material of choice. Gallium Nitride: a Superior Choice for Power Switching Applications
The material properties of gallium nitride (GaN) make it a far superior option over silicon carbide (SiC) for high voltage power switching applications. To date, however, GaN processing technology has not been able to produce a viable GaN high voltage switching transistor operating above 1,000 V. Current devices are largely horizontal conduction devices based on radio frequency (RF) designs modified to operate at high voltage. These designs are not scalable beyond 1,000 V for operating voltage, which limits their use to low voltage, consumer electronics applications.
Odyssey Semiconductor’s unique GaN processing technology allows for the realization of vertical current conduction GaN devices which extends application voltages from 1,000 V to over 10,000V, allowing GaN power switching devices to extend well beyond the consumer electronics application space and into more demanding applications such as electric vehicles, industrial motor control, and energy grid applications.
Late last year, the company announced that Rick Brown, co-founder, CTO and Board member, was appointed as interim CEO of Odyssey, replacing Alex Behfar who resigned as CEO, Chairman and Board Member. The Company has initiated a search for a permanent CEO to succeed Mr. Behfar. The Company's Board of Directors also appointed John Edmunds as Chairman of the Board. Mr. Edmunds joined the Odyssey board as an independent member and brings over 40 years of financial experience including 20 years as a public company CFO with fast growing semiconductor companies.
Based in Ithaca, NY, the Company owns and operates a 10,000 sq.ft. semiconductor wafer manufacturing facility complete with a mix of class 1,000 and class 10,000 clean space as well as tools for advanced semiconductor development and production. Odyssey Semiconductor also offers a world-class semiconductor device development and foundry service.
Odyssey Semiconductor has developed a revolutionary method to achieve area-selective doped regions in GaN, opening the door to the realization of vertical-conduction devices analogous to the highly developed device geometries that are standard in Si and SiC – but with all the superior materials properties of GaN.
Vertically-conducting GaN-based power devices outperform other devices fabricated using silicon (Si) and silicon carbide (SiC), but they have proven difficult to fabricate using standard methods. As a result, GaN power devices have been relegated to horizontal-conducting low-voltage, consumer electronics. Odyssey has developed a proprietary GaN processing technology to produce high-voltage power-switching devices that will break down long-standing performance barriers for applications such as electric vehicles, solar inverters, industrial motors, and power grids.
Odyssey Semiconductor has also recently expanded its customer base using its foundry fabrication services. The Odyssey team has vast experience supporting diverse semiconductor applications, including power devices, integrated optoelectronics, chemical sensing, and spectroscopy. The Company provides support to its customers from prototype production to full foundry capabilities.
The company recently got a government grant from the state of New York which will allow it to expand the manufacturing capabilities of their facility by purchasing and installing cleanroom equipment. This facility upgrade will consist of semiconductor processing tools that will scale up existing manufacturing capabilities from an estimated 50 wafers per month to an estimated 500 wafers per month. The adaptation of this new equipment to their fabrication facility will allow higher efficiency power conversion for applications in personal electronics, electric vehicles, solar inverters, industrial motors, and smart power grid distribution.
About the CEO
Rick Brown, Interim CEO, CTO and Co-Founder
Rick Brown is the CTO and co-founder of Odyssey Semiconductor, Inc. He has 19 years of experience in the design and fabrication of semiconductor devices, mainly specializing in gallium nitride and related materials. Prior to Odyssey Semiconductor, he was a visiting scientist at Cornell University where he worked on developing gallium nitride-based transistors for radio frequency communications applications and also was a founding member and device scientist at Avogy, Inc. (a Khosla Ventures company). Rick holds a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Cornell University.