Scientists have found a new material that doubles the efficiency of silicon-based electronics

Exploring solar panel efficiency breakthroughs in 2020

Scientists have found a new material that doubles the efficiency of silicon-based electronics

A team of German scientists found that processing transistors with scandium aluminum nitride (ScAlN) can maximize power output and reduce power consumption of silicon-based devices.

Although the semiconductor made from Si is the most successful and widespread in modern devices, but are gradually approaching their physical efficiency limit. Therefore, three research organizations in Germany joined forces to study the structure new material, as well as develop components and systems based on it for the electronics of the future.

It is known that the limitations of a semiconductor can be overcome with gallium nitride (GaN), which performs better in high voltage, temperature and high frequency switching conditions, but the team decided to go further and improve further. indicators of energy efficiency and durability of devices. For this purpose, scandium-aluminum nitride will be used..

Scientists have found a new material that doubles the efficiency of silicon-based electronics

ScAlN is a piezoelectric semiconductor material with high dielectric strength, but so far it is poorly understood in terms of its applicability in microelectronic applications. German scientists have already proven that it has unique physical properties and is excellent for improving power electronic components..

The goal of the joint project is to grow a ScAlN crystal lattice on a GaN layer and use the resulting heterostructures for processing high-throughput transistors. This will reduce system switching losses, improve operating efficiency and make them more compact. They are aiming to double the maximum possible power output of the devices while reducing power consumption, the team said..

At the moment, the main problem is growing crystals of the desired structure, since no one has done this before. Researchers will work on this over the next few months to begin successfully applying the material to electronics..

Not only materials are being improved, but also methods of creating transistors. Scientists recently reported a breakthrough in the production of nanochips.

text: Ilya Bauer, photo:  Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid State Physics IAF