Fraunhofer IAF updates 1200V GaN

Fraunhofer IAF updates 1200V GaN

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid State Physics (IAF) in Germany are using several techniques to develop gallium nitride (GaN) transistors with blocking voltages up to and above 1200V.

The team at Fraunhofer IAF are using GaN high electron mobility transistors (HEMTs) on Si substrates (GaN-on-Si HEMTs), highly insulating carrier substrates such as sapphire, SiC or also GaN (GaN-on-insulator HEMTs) and the development of vertical GaN technologies.

Lateral GaN-on-Si HEMTs are already commercially available, but tend to be limited to a blocking voltage of 650 V due to limited GaN layer thicknesses. By continuously optimizing the material and the epitaxy, processing and structure of the devices, researchers at Fraunhofer IAF were able to demonstrate GaN-on-Si HEMTs with static blocking voltages of over 1200 V.

In addition, the power components were switched up to 1100 V in an application-oriented measuring stand with double-pulse measurements.

“The energy transition is not only necessary to maintain our quality of life, but it is also an opportunity to secure Europe’s economic strength through future technologies in the areas of mobility and the energy industry. Efficient, powerful and cost-effective semiconductor components are the key components of this transformation,” explains Dr. Richard Reiner, scientist in the business unit Power Electronics at Fraunhofer IAF.

In the second approach, the researchers replace the conductive Si with highly insulating carrier substrates such as sapphire, SiC or GaN, which virtually eliminates the voltage limit. Lateral GaN-on-sapphire HEMTs can be manufactured cost-effectively based on relevant preliminary work for light-emitting diode applications and can be produced in existing production lines.

Vertical GaN technologies, in which the current flow runs vertically through the material layers, enable even greater performance with higher efficiency and integration capability at the same time.

Within the next decade, the researchers at Fraunhofer IAF want to make vertical GaN power ICs suitable for industrial use. The aim is also to help shape the next technological leap in the transformation towards a climate-neutral society.

Dr. Richard Reiner will provide an overview of the development of lateral and vertical GaN power in his presentation “Lateral and Vertical GaN Power ICs: Status and Future” on Wednesday at the PCIM 2024 exhibition in Nuremberg, Germany, as well as discussing the various lateral 1200 V GaN technologies in his presentation “More than 1200 V Breakdown and Low Area-Specific On-State Resistances by Progress in Lateral GaN-on-Si and GaN-on-Insulator Technologies”.


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