Aluminium-based semiconductors promise even greater efficiency : Page 2 of 2

December 02, 2019 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Aluminium-based semiconductors promise even greater efficiency
Highly efficient power semiconductors should create the conditions for a wide range of new applications from electromobility to artificial intelligence. This is the aim of the recently launched joint project "Power transistors based on AlN (ForMikro-LeitBAN)", which is coordinated by the Ferdinand-Braun-Institut for highest frequency technologies in Berlin.

It is also characterized by very high breakdown voltage resistance and thermal conductivity - ideal prerequisites for power semiconductors with high energy density and efficiency. Freestanding insulating AlN wafers are to be used and qualified as a material basis. Compared to an AlN epitaxy on foreign substrates such as silicon carbide, the dislocation density can be reduced by five orders of magnitude. This offers the potential for fast and efficient switching components with high reliability at the same time.

The innovative AlN devices are based conceptually on the well-researched GaN technology. The transition from conventional foreign substrates such as silicon carbide, sapphire or silicon to free-standing AlN substrates is new. ForMikro-LeitBAN researches the development of such AlN wafers and tests them in a specially tailored component process. Test systems for millimeter wave applications and for power electronic energy converters qualify the new highly efficient AlN components for applications in corresponding systems. They are preparing the transfer of this technology into an industrial environment. This is planned as part of a follow-up project. An industrial advisory board supports the work in the consortium: Infineon for power electronics, UMS for millimeter wave technology and III/V-Reclaim for the recycling of AlN wafers.

The partners involved in ForMikro-LeitBAN jointly cover the entire value chain - from AlN wafers to millimeter waves or power electronic systems. Fraunhofer IISB in Erlangen contributes know-how for AlN crystal growing and wafer production, while TU Bergakademie-Freiberg (IAP) develops process module development and analysis for the technology. The Technical University Cottbus-Senftenberg is developing AlN millimeter wave systems as part of the project, and TI Berlin is participating with power-electronic systems based on AIN semiconductors.

The project will receive 3.3 million euros in funding from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research until 2023.

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