Junxia Shi, a graduate student in the laboratory of Lester Eastman, the John Given Foundation Professor of Engineering, developed the gallium nitride-based device, which could form the basis for the circuitry in products from laptops to hybrid vehicles to windmills to other power electronic systems.
The patent-pending device is a basic electrical switch made from the compound gallium nitride, a material with unique electrical properties that Eastman and colleagues have been studying for more than a decade. Research on their recent breakthrough was published in the journal Applied Physics Letters (July 28, 2009).
The new transistor’s on-resistance, or measure of resistance to electric current, is 10 to 20 times lower than today’s silicon-based power devices. It also has a high breakdown voltage, which is a measure of how much voltage can be applied across a material before it fails.
The key to the device lie in gallium nitride’s low electrical resistance, causing less power loss to heat, and its ability to handle up to 3 million volts per centimeter without electrical failure. Silicon, a competing material, can handle only about 250,000 volts per centimeter.At the heart of improving electronics, Eastman said, is the ability to make devices that can switch electricity from high voltage to high current, which is a measurement of electrical applicability, while minimizing power loss.
“Power has to go from A to B in a machine with a high voltage transmission line to minimize power loss,” Eastman said. “Before now, there were no electronic devices that could handle both high current and the high voltage, but our device can do it.”
The transistors, which were made with Cornell nanofabrication equipment, might one day power everything from hybrid electric vehicles to Navy destroyers. In fact, the U.S. Navy first funded Cornell’s research into gallium nitride transistors more than 10 years ago and is a major funder of Eastman’s research today.
In next-generation electrical devices, “you want to have the power that’s coming out to be not much less than the power that’s going in,” Eastman said. “This is the best material we know of that can do this conversion without loss of energy.”
Shi and Eastman have a provisional patent on their device. The New Jersey-based company Velox and Motorola spinoff Freescale have also helped fund the research, with the hope of producing the devices at an industrial scale.
Blaine Friedlander | Newswise Science News
Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy
24.03.2017 | University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core
24.03.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
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The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
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Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
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