A team of researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has advanced gallium nitride (GaN)-on-silicon transistor technology by optimizing the composition of the semiconductor layers that make up the device. Working with industry partners Veeco and IBM, the team created the high electron mobility transistor (HEMT) structure on a 200 mm silicon substrate with a process that will scale to larger industry-standard wafer sizes.
Can Bayram, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering (ECE), and his team have created the GaN HEMT structure on a silicon platform because it is compatible with existing CMOS manufacturing processes and is less expensive than other substrate options like sapphire and silicon carbide.
However, silicon does have its challenges. Namely, the lattice constant, or space between silicon atoms, doesn't match up with the atomic structure of the GaN grown on top of it.
"When you grow the GaN on top, there's a lot of strain between the layers, so we grew buffer layers [between the silicon and GaN] to help change the lattice constant into the proper size," explained ECE undergraduate researcher Josh Perozek, lead author of the group's paper, "Investigation of structural, optical, and electrical characteristics of an AlGaN/GaN high electron mobility transistor structure across a 200mm Si(1 1 1) substrate," in the Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics.
Without these buffer layers, cracks or other defects will form in the GaN material, which would prevent the transistor from operating properly. Specifically, these defects -- threading dislocations or holes where atoms should be--ruin the properties of the 2-dimensional electron gas channel in the device. This channel is critical to the HEMTs ability to conduct current and function at high frequencies.
"The single most important thing for these GaN [HEMT] devices is to have high 2D electron gas concentration," said Bayram, about the accumulation of electrons in a channel at the interface between the silicon and the various GaN-based layers above it.
"The problem is you have to control the strain balance among all those layers--from substrate all the way up to the channel -- so as to maximize the density of the of the conducting electrons in order to get the fastest transistor with the highest possible power density."
After studying three different buffer layer configurations, Bayram's team discovered that thicker buffer layers made of graded AlGaN reduce threading dislocation, and stacking those layers reduces stress. With this type of configuration, the team achieved an electron mobility of 1,800 cm2/V-sec.
"The less strain there is on the GaN layer, the higher the mobility will be, which ultimately corresponds to higher transistor operating frequencies," said Hsuan-Ping Lee, an ECE graduate student researcher leading the scaling of these devices for 5G applications.
According to Bayram, the next step for his team is to fabricate fully functional high-frequency GaN HEMTs on a silicon platform for use in the 5G wireless data networks.
When it's fully deployed, the 5G network will enable faster data rates for the world's 8 billion mobile phones, and will provide better connectivity and performance for Internet of Things (IoT) devices and driverless cars.
The team, in collaboration with Veeco and IBM, conducted their research at the University of Illinois Micro + Nanotechnology Lab with support from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.
Can Bayram | EurekAlert!
Waste from paper and pulp industry supplies raw material for development of new redox flow batteries
12.10.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Low-cost battery from waste graphite
11.10.2017 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research
20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.10.2017 | Earth Sciences