Vertical GaN Transistors

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San Jose,
Project Term:
01/01/2014 - 12/12/2016

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:

Avogy will develop a vertical transistor with a gallium nitride (GaN) semiconductor that is 30 times smaller than conventional silicon transistors but can conduct significantly more electricity. Avogy’s GaN transistor will function effectively in high-power electronics because it can withstand higher electric fields and operate at higher temperatures than comparable silicon transistors. Avogy’s vertical device architecture can also enable higher current devices. With such a small and efficient device, Avogy projects it will achieve functional cost parity with conventional silicon transistors within three years, while offering game-changing performance improvements.

Potential Impact:

If successful, Avogy’s transistors will enable smaller, more energy-efficient, more reliable, and more cost-effective high-power converters, electrical motor drivers, and photovoltaic and wind inverters.


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. Timothy Heidel
Project Contact:
Dr. Anneli Munkholm
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:


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