IIT Guwahati’s Cost-Effective Semiconductor Triumph

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Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati (IIT Guwahati), in collaboration with IIT Mandi and Technical University Wien, have achieved a breakthrough in semiconductor technology. Led by Ankush Bag, Assistant Professor at the Department of Electronics and Electrical Engineering and Centre for Nanotechnology, the team has developed a cost-effective method to grow a special semiconductor with immense potential.

Transforming Power Electronics Efficiency

This semiconductor is poised to revolutionize power electronics, particularly in high-power applications such as electric vehicles, high-voltage transmission, traction, and industrial automation. Its unique feature allows efficient functionality even at extreme temperatures, reaching up to 200 degrees Celsius.

The research team utilized a custom Low-Pressure Chemical Vapour Deposition (LPCVD) system to grow ultrawide bandgap semiconducting material known as gallium oxide. This material is crucial for enhancing the efficiency of power semiconductor devices.

Assistant Professor Bag emphasized the demand for compound semiconductor materials with ultrawide bandgap in emerging high-power applications. Traditional materials like Gallium Nitride (GaN) and Silicon Carbide (SiC) have limitations, especially concerning cost, for high-power applications. The breakthrough lies in optimizing gallium oxide semiconductor and incorporating it with tin to improve conductivity.

The key challenge in this research was creating a gallium oxide thin film on a sapphire substrate, deviating from the common use of gallium oxide substrates. This strategic shift enhances cost-effectiveness and thermal performance, addressing concerns related to expense and poor thermal conductivity of gallium oxide substrates.

Funding and Future Implications

This pioneering research has received funding from the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), Department of Science and Technology, marking a significant leap forward in the field of high-power electronics. The applications of this technology extend to electric vehicles, high-voltage transmission, traction systems, and industrial automation.

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