GaN Wide Bandgap Semiconductor Enabling 1200V and Beyond Power Switches, Now Commercially Available for 200mm Large Scale Manufacturing

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A typical substrate in microelectronics is a thin semiconductor crystalline disk or wafer. An engineered substrate is a composite structure consisting of polycrystalline and crystalline layers that are optimized for a good thermal expansion and crystalline match to GaN. The excellent thermal expansion match permits thick GaN epitaxial layers which has enabled 1200 volts and beyond GaN power switches. Karl Hobart and Francis “Fritz” Kub, both electrical engineers and heads of the High Power Devices Section and High Power Electronics Branch at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, are the lead inventors for GaN engineered substrates. “What’s unique about GaN material is it’s a wide-bandgap semiconductor, so it can support higher electric fields,” Hobart said. “It is also a useful light emitter and a very fast switch for high frequency applications but we’re more interested in high voltage, high electric field devices.”

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