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Honey, I Shrunk the Circuit


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Sandia National Laboratories electrical engineer Bob Kaplar heads a project studying ultrawide bandgap semiconductor materials.

Sandia National Laboratories researchers have shown it is possible to make transistors and diodes from advanced semiconductor materials that could perform much better than silicon.

Credit: Randy Montoya

Sandia National Laboratories researchers have demonstrated the highest-bandgap transistor ever, a High Electron Mobility Transistor.

The team analyzed the performance of diodes made from gallium nitride (GaN) and aluminum gallium nitride (AlGaN).

As part of a project studying ultrawide bandgap (UWBG) semiconductor materials, the researchers are exploring ways to grow those materials with fewer defects and create different device designs that exploit properties that offer significant advantages over silicon.

Bandgap is a fundamental material property that helps determine electrical conductivity and transistor performance. Emerging UWBG materials would facilitate scaling to devices that operate at even higher voltages, frequencies, and temperatures, compared to wide bandgap (WBG) materials. When made into transistors, the materials could lead to significant improvement in the performance and efficiency of electrical power grids, electric vehicles, computer power supplies, and motors for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. Faster switching also could result in smaller capacitors and associated circuit components, miniaturizing the entire power system.

From Sandia National Laboratories
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