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The first technology enabling large-scale gallium nitride industrialisation for mainstream power electronics and RF applications

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - eleGaNt (The first technology enabling large-scale gallium nitride industrialisation for mainstream power electronics and RF applications)

Reporting period: 2019-10-01 to 2020-09-30

"eleGaNt aims at developing a high quality planar GaN material for the power electronics markets through advanced nanowire technology addressing the shortcomings of conventional GaN platforms. The technology drastically lowers dislocation densities that typically prevents high voltage operation and causes high leakage currents which limits energy efficiency. Further, the technology enables thick crack-free layers and thereby enables vertical architectures and thus addresses high power segments where to date only the cost inefficient SiC is used.
By increasing material quality, more energy efficient devices can be manufactured at improved cost structure and energy savings in multiple areas such as consumer electronics, home appliances, data centers, EV/EHV markets, photovoltaic energy conversion, and many industrial applications. This will help boost the transition to a more sustainable society at large.
The project objectives are reduction in defect densities, demonstrating layers above 10µm in thickness, scaling technology to a commercially relevant wafer size (6"") and engage with industrial partners in order to secure a joint development program."
The project has focussed on solving issues related to preprocessing needs in terms of lithograpy and dry etching before GaN epitaxil growth. Further, the GaN nanowire growth has been optimized as well as the reformation procedure to create a planar film. Several new characterization methods have been developed in order to analyse efficiently the defect density and crystal orientations on a local as well as a macro level over the wafers. At the end of the 1st reporting period the project has successfully demonstrated GaN films with dislocation densities at par or slighly better than conventional technologies and more importantly demonstrations of 10 µm crack-free GaN layers on a 300 nm GaN nanowire buffer layer. This result strongly suggest that our technology will enable vertical device architectures on sapphire and silicon platfiorms.
The progress has demonstrated dislocation denisties so far at par with or slightly better then state-of-the-art commercial GaN and beyond state-of-the-art in terms of GaN layer thickness as a 10µm layer may be grown without crack-formation thus enabling vertical, high break down voltage devices as to date can only be done on very expensive GaN-on-GaN technology.
It is expected by the end of the project that defect densities are substantially lower than any GaN on foreign substrate technology commerically available and the we can grow even thicker layers (up to 20-30µm) on silicon wafers. Further it is expected to have entered into a joint developmetn project with a power electronics player to develop the technology on 150mm wafer size.
Through high quality material, compatible with low cost Si platforms eleGaNt technology enables improved energy efficiency and cost and will impact society positively in terms energy savings and thereby reduction in CO2 emission by an increased incorporation of efficent GaN technology in home appliances, EV/EHV, PV, data centers, and consumer electronics. A reduction in cost for several key high power markets will enable a faster adoption of more efficient technologies and thereby faster job creation in particular in sustainable energy sectors such as PV, EV/EHV, and wind.