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GaN Power Transistor

Cornell University
ARPA-E Award: 
Ithaca, NY
Project Term: 
08/01/2015 to 10/16/2017
Project Status: 
Technical Categories: 
Critical Need: 

Power semiconductor devices are critical to America's energy infrastructure--all electronics, from laptops to electric motors, rely on them to control or convert electrical energy in order to operate properly. Unfortunately, the performance and efficiency of today's dominant power semiconductor device material, Silicon, suffer at higher power levels and higher temperature. This results in substantial loss of efficiency across our energy infrastructure. Innovative new semiconductor materials, device architectures, and fabrication processes promise to improve the performance and efficiency of existing electronic devices and to pave the way for next-generation power electronics.

Project Innovation + Advantages: 

Cornell University will develop an innovative, high-efficiency, gallium nitride (GaN) power switch. Cornell's design is significantly smaller and operates at much higher performance levels than conventional silicon power switches, making it ideal for use in a variety of power electronics applications. Cornell will also reuse expensive GaN materials and utilize conventional low-cost production methods to keep costs down.

Potential Impact: 

If successful, Cornell's small, high-performance, low-cost GaN power transistors would significantly improve the efficiency of a variety of power electronics, including motor drives.


Advances in power electronics could facilitate greater adoption of electric vehicles, which in turn could help reduce U.S. oil imports.


More efficient power electronics systems promise reduced electricity consumption, resulting in fewer harmful energy-related emissions.


More efficient power electronics would use less energy, saving American families and business owners money on their power bills.

ARPA-E Program Director: 
Dr. Isik Kizilyalli
Project Contact: 
Huili (Grace) Xing
United Technologies Research Center
TriQuint Semiconductor
Release Date: