15 Jul 2009   |   News

IMEC launches industrial collaboration in gallium nitride

Partnership opportunity

IMEC, the nanoelectronics and nanotechnology research centre based in Leuven, has launched a new industrial affiliation programme focussing on the development of Gallium nitride (GaN) technology for power conversion and solid state lighting applications.

An important goal of the programme is to lower the cost of GaN technology by using large-diameter GaN-on-Si, taking advantage of silicon’s economy of scale.

The aim of the programme is to develop high-voltage, low-loss, high-power switching devices based on large-diameter (up to 200mm) GaN-on-Si technology. Potential applications include high-power switching in solar converters, motor drives, hybrid electrical vehicles or switch mode power supplies.

High-voltage power devices are traditionally based on Si MOSFET structures. However, for a number of applications, these are reaching the intrinsic limits of the material. GaN-based devices can surpass these limits, due to a unique combination of transport properties and high electrical field operation capability.

The few GaN devices on the market today are based on AlGaN/GaN high-electron mobility transistor (HEMT) structures and are normally-on devices, designed for RF applications, for example, in wireless communication. Within the programme it is envisaged the next-generation of power electronics components will be supported, requiring the development of normally-off devices (for safety reasons) with high-voltage breakdown (600-1000V) and low on-resistance.

A second element of the programme will exploit GaN-on-Si technology for the development of high-efficiency high-power white LEDs. Key issues to be resolved include enhancing the external and internal quantum efficiencies and enabling high current operation.

IMEC is inviting integrated device manufacturers and compound semiconductor companies to join the programme. For more information, see the IMEC website.

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