Power conversion is the process of converting electrical energy from one form to another, such as changing the voltage or conversion from alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC) to adapt to the needs of an electronic device. It is projected that by 2030, as much as 80 percent of the electricity generated will pass through one or more power conversion stages from generation to consumption (an increase from 30 percent today). During the conversion process, power semiconductor devices such as transistors amplify or switch electric signals and electrical power. Power semiconductor devices are critical for the world's energy infrastructure. Maximizing the energy efficiency of switching semiconductor devices in these power conversion stages could lead to significant energy savings.
Project Innovation + Advantages:
GeneSiC Semiconductor will lead a team to develop high-power and voltage (1200V) vertical transistors on free-standing gallium nitride (GaN) substrates. Bipolar junction transistors amplify or switch electrical current. NPN junction transistors are one class of these transistors consisting of a layer of p-type semiconductor between two n-type semiconductors. The output electrical current between two terminals is controlled by applying a small input current at the third terminal. The proposed effort combines the latest innovations in device designs/process technology, bulk GaN substrate technology, and innovative metal-organic chemical vapor deposition epitaxial growth techniques. If the proposed design concept is successful, it will enable three-fold improvement of power density in high voltage devices, and provide a low-cost solution for mass market power conversion. Moreover, the device can be processed with significantly lower process complexity and cost, as compared to competing silicon carbide and GaN device technologies. GeneSiC will focus on all device development tasks while its partner, Adroit Materials, will focus on the GaN epitaxial growth on bulk GaN substrates, as well as detailed materials characterization according to specifications generated by GeneSiC.