Researchers at The Ohio State University are leading a project recently awarded $2.2 million from the Department of Energy to develop gallium nitride (GaN) semiconductor materials suitable for high-voltage power control and conversion.
The project, “GaN MOCVD Growth on Native Substrates for High Voltage (15-20 kV) Vertical Power Devices,” is one of 12 projects receiving $35 million in funding through the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) OPEN+ program.
“Today’s dominant power semiconductor devices use Silicon, which suffers at high power and high temperature operations. It is absolutely critical to find alternatives to harness medium-voltage electricity infrastructure for applications across industry, transportation, on the grid and beyond,” said Hongping Zhao, associate professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) and Materials Science and Engineering (MSE). “This project aims to develop wide bandgap semiconductor GaN materials grown on native GaN substrates that enables vertical power devices with switching voltages up to 15-20 kilovolts.”
The team is led by Zhao and includes ECE and MSE professor Siddharth Rajan; IMR Executive Director, Distinguished University Professor and Neal A. Smith Professor of Electrical Engineering Steven Ringel; and ECE professor Jin Wang. During the three year project, Ohio State will partner with SixPoint Materials, Inc., a California-based materials manufacturer, which will focus on developing GaN substrates.
Zhao joined Ohio State in August 2017 through the IMR-led Materials & Manufacturing for Sustainability Discovery Theme. Zhao’s research interests focus on the growth and physics of wide bandgap and ultra-wide bandgap semiconductor materials and devices, and the low-dimensional semiconductor nano-materials and devices for energy applications.