Researchers introduce a new powerful electronic device by controlled and selective doping of Gallium Nitride (GaN)
A team of engineering researchers invented new and more energy-efficient electronic devices using a unique technique of controlled ‘doping’ of gallium nitride (GaN). This would result in the development of more efficient power electronics such as power switches and reduces the power loss of energy in the conversion process where power is switched from one format to another. This is important for the enhancement of the technologies to assist more sustainable energy infrastructure such as smart grids.
“Our work means not only that we can reduce energy losses in power electronics, but also make energy conversion systems more compact compared to conventional silicon and silicon carbide electronics,” says Ramon Callosa, co-author of the paper and associate professor of materials science and NC State Engineering. “This makes it possible to incorporate these systems into technologies where they are not currently suitable due to weight or size limitations, such as in cars, ships, aircraft or technologies distributed over a smart grid.”
The researchers illustrated how their study can be implemented to produce real-world devices. They selectively doped GaN materials to create diodes with a barrier Schottky (JBS). “Power rectifiers, such as JBS diodes, are used as switches in every power system,” Collazo says. “But historically they have been made of the semiconductors silicon or silicon carbide because the electrical properties of undoped GaN are not compatible with the architecture of JBS diodes. It just doesn’t work.”
“We have demonstrated that GaN can be selectively doped to create functional JBS diodes and that these diodes are not only functional but also provide more efficient energy conversion than JBS diodes that use conventional semiconductors. For example, in technical terms, our GaN JBS diode, fabricated on a native GaN substrate, has a record high breakdown voltage (915 V) and a record low on-resistance. “We’re currently working with industry partners to scale up production of selectively doped GaN, and are looking for additional partnerships to work on issues related to more widespread manufacturing and adoption of power devices that make use of this material,” Collazo says.
Click here for the Published Research Paper