Powerful gallium nitride-driven semiconductor devices have been created but are less lasting than their silicon analogs

ElectronicJune 20, 2015

Last week, the Efficient Power Conversion company in California declared the beginning of production of two types of the high-frequency powerful field transistors made of gallium nitride which are less lasting than their silicon analogs. Nitride of gallium and carbide of silicon for a long time have been considered as the alternative materials capable to replace silicon in power electronics. Transistors on the basis of such materials need less time for inclusion and switching off, they can work at higher tension, than silicon devices of comparable overall dimensions. But until recently, the production of power silicon devices was less expensive, than production of the same devices from other materials.

Now the Efficient Power Conversion (EPC) company arranged the production of 60-and 100-Voltovykh powerful transistors on the basis of gallium nitride. These two types have close requirements of a rather wide number of scopes, starting with technologies of wireless transmission of energy, laser measuring instruments of range and scanners for cars robots, and the radio-transmitting devices.

The EPC company makes new transistors on traditional silicon substrates where the gallium layer surface, exposed subsequently to nitriding process, is applied. Due to some properties of gallium nitride of the structure of the transistor is capable to maintain rather high electric potential that means that such transistors can have the smaller sizes and occupy the smaller space on a substrate, than silicon analogs. Production of bigger number of transistors on a silicon substrate of the identical area is one of the new transistors making low cost.

The second component of depreciation is the structure of the transistor which has all the traditional electrodes – a lock, a drain and a source. But unlike silicon transistors, at the transistor from gallium nitride all three electrodes are located on one party of a substrate. Therefore the design of the case of new transistors is much simpler from the technological point of view, than a design of cases silicon MOSFET transistors of which about 50 percent of their final cost are the share.

Now some companies which are engaged in release of semiconductor production are also engaged in the development of their own options of powerful gallium nitride field transistors. Goleta, Transphorm and the giant of this area in the industry, the Infineon company which absorbed International Rectifier company not so long ago are among these companies. And one of the aims which is pursued by this development, is creation of the high-voltage powerful field transistors capable of sustaining potential between a drain and a source to 600 Volts, the emergence of which can cause revolution in the field of industrial power supply, power networks, etc.

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