Preparations are almost finished in Russia for the production of gallium oxide wafers used in microelectronics. These domestically produced wafers are significantly cheaper than imported ones due to a new technology that eliminates the need for rare and expensive materials. JSC Rokor, a Russian company based in Technopolis Moscow FEZ, has developed this breakthrough technology for producing monocrystalline gallium oxide (Ga2O3) wafers. These wafers are essential for manufacturing fourth-generation semiconductor materials, known for their advanced capabilities.
Rokor has not only developed the technology, but they have also mastered it and are now preparing to launch production. The exact timing of the launch is undisclosed at the moment. However, Vladislav Ovchinsky, the acting head of the Department of Investment and Industrial Policy of Moscow, predicts that the demand for these gallium oxide wafers will extend beyond Russia, attracting electronic component manufacturers from around the world.
Gallium oxide wafers have a wide range of applications, with potential uses ranging from military technology to renewable energy and power electronics. Therefore, their production in mass quantities by Rokor will increase their availability and reduce their final cost. This cost reduction can have a positive impact on the price of microcircuits and devices that use these wafers.
According to current information, the cost of one Russian gallium oxide wafer is expected to be around $3,000, significantly lower than the imported wafers from Japan, which cost $6,400 each. It is worth noting that the size of the wafers to be produced by Rokor has not been specified yet.
The key to Rokor’s success lies in their new production approach, which eliminates the need for a special and expensive material called iridium, crucial to the traditional manufacturing method. By developing a method that doesn’t rely on iridium, Rokor expects the production cost of wafers to decrease significantly, potentially by three to seven times.
The newly developed process at Rokor will also eliminate the restrictions caused by the availability and required amount of materials in the global market. By removing the reliance on iridium, the pace of implementing green technologies and producing advanced microelectronic products will accelerate. Currently, there is a shortage of fourth-generation semiconductors in the market, but Rokor’s development can completely eliminate this scarcity.
All the necessary research and development work has been completed, and full-scale production of gallium oxide wafers for the global market is expected to take no more than a year and a half. This gives Rokor a temporary technological advantage for the next five to eight years, as the technology and crystal growth stages cannot be easily replicated.
Currently China is the main supplier of gallium, controlling 94% of the market. China’s dominant position allows them, along with Germany, to exert pressure on other countries, including the United States. Recently, China imposed export restrictions on gallium, causing prices to rise due to reduced availability.
Rokor is a company based in Zelenograd, established in 1994 with a focus on the production of sapphire crystals. The company positions itself as an international organization that has been working with foreign companies since 1994. Rokor’s revenues in 2022 amounted to 128.5 million rubles.