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High-Power Transistor Fabrication

MicroLink Devices
High-Power Vertical-Junction Field-Effect Transistors Fabricated on Low-Dislocation-Density GaN by Epitaxial Lift-Off
Program: 
ARPA-E Award: 
$3,225,000
Location: 
Niles, IL
Project Term: 
03/10/2014 to 12/09/2017
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
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: 
MicroLink Devices will engineer affordable, high-performance transistors for power conversion. Currently, high-performance power transistors are prohibitively expensive because they are grown on expensive gallium nitride (GaN) semiconductor wafers. In conventional manufacturing processes, this expensive wafer is permanently attached to the transistor, so the wafer can only be used once. MicroLink Devices will develop an innovative method to remove the transistor structure from the wafer without damaging any components, enabling wafer reuse and significantly reducing costs.
Potential Impact: 
If successful, Microlink Devices would facilitate the widespread use of affordable, high-performance transistors for use in power inverters and converters.
Security: 
Advances in power electronics could facilitate greater adoption of electric vehicles, which in turn could help reduce U.S. oil imports.
Environment: 
More efficient power electronics systems promise reduced electricity consumption, resulting in fewer harmful energy-related emissions.
Economy: 
More efficient power electronics would use less energy, saving American families and business owners money on their power bills.
Contacts
ARPA-E Program Director: 
Dr. Isik Kizilyalli
Project Contact: 
Dr. Robert McCarthy
Partners
Ammono
TriQuint Semiconductor
University of Notre Dame
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Release Date: 
10/21/2013