IQE enables advanced GaN power devices

22 December 2015

Cardiff, UK. 22 December 2015: IQE plc (AIM: IQE, “IQE” or the “Group”), the leading global supplier of advanced semiconductor wafer products and services, has collaborated with two leading US research groups to create gallium nitride (GaN) power diodes capable of serving as the building blocks for future GaN power switches.

IQE engineers worked with researchers from Cornell University and the University of Notre Dame to create the GaN power devices that will pave the way to enabling a wide range of applications from electronic products to electricity distribution infrastructure.

Power semiconductor devices are a critical part of the energy infrastructure — all electronics rely on them to control or convert electrical energy. Incumbent technologies are rapidly approaching severe performance and cost limitations which has focused a great deal of attention on materials such as GaN as a key material for next generation products.

GaN has many desirable features but is notorious for its inherent, high-defect levels and their associated impact on reliability. To overcome these issues the teams concentrated on developing GaN based devices with record low-defect concentrations to probe GaN's ultimate performance limits for power electronics. They describe their results in a paper in Applied Physics Letters published in December 2015.

The work is the first report of GaN p-n diodes with near ideal performance in all aspects simultaneously: a unity ideality factor, avalanche breakdown voltage, and about a two-fold improvement in device figure-of merits over previous records.

Project Researcher Dr Zongyang Hu from Cornell University said:

"Our results are an important step toward understanding the intrinsic properties and the true potential of GaN, and these achievements are only possible in high-quality GaN device structures (an effort led by IQE engineers) prepared on high-quality GaN bulk substrates and with precisely tuned fabrication technologies (an effort led by Dr. Kazuki Nomoto, a research associate at Cornell University)."

Group leader, Professor Grace Huili Xing, whose research group at Cornell’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering said:

"Leading one of these projects, we at Cornell, in collaboration with our industrial partners IQE, Qorvo, and UTRC, have established an integrated plan to develop three terminal GaN power transistors, package them, and insert them into circuits and products.

The team's work is part of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) "SWITCHES" program.





Chris Meadows

Wayne Johnson