Technology

The development of Gallium Nitride (GaN) Power Devices

A Plasma Technology and University of Glasgow collaboration

Working at Plasma Technology means that you are working on projects that truly offer a global impact and working with people that are global experts, a great combination. An example of this is the collaboration on the PowerGaN project with Glasgow University.

In the next few years people will start seeing some interesting changes happen around them, electric cars will charge quicker and run for longer, power packs will shrink to wall plug size and mobile broadband will get better and faster. Other unseen changes will also occur related to improved renewable power generation. All of these advances made possible by the adoption of a particular set of devices based on a very interesting material Gallium Nitride – GaN.

Now GaN is already a well established material for everyday devices, it is used in most of the new LEDs that are brightening people’s homes, but it is a different field that is attracting so much interest the field of high frequency, high power electronics. Because of GaN these devices can switch faster, at higher power and higher efficiency than other devices. So less power is lost, less heat is generated and higher powers can be utilised. All these combine to make smaller more powerful devices that will change the way we live.

However, GaN based devices still face many challenges which is why  Plasma Technology and the University of Glasgow entered into a collaboration in 2016, as part of a UK project to develop next generation GaN-on-Si power devices. This Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funded project bridges the gap between fundamental research and commercial manufacture. This five year project will connect the very capable, world-class UK GaN academic materials and device community, align them with key players in the UK academic power electronics sector, and directly link with the significant UK power semiconductor industry.

The project uses a Plasma Technology four chamber cluster tool system, combined in such a way that the manufacturing and analysis of devices is totally unique.

The systems are installed in the James Watt Nanofabrication Centre at Glasgow University and Plasma Technology is assist with process development, and sponsoring a PhD student who works on the on the cluster tool. So the project gets access to our experts and Plasma Technology gets a deep insight into the way our tools affect the performance of the device. Like all good collaborations beneficial to both sides.

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