Monday, April 22, 2024

IIT-G researchers develop cost-effective tech to grow special semiconductor


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Guwahati, Feb 5: Researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Guwahati have developed a cost-effective method to grow a special semiconductor which has the potential to significantly enhance the efficiency of power electronics used in high-power applications such as electric vehicles, high-voltage transmission, traction and industry automation.

This innovation is expected to be used widely because it makes high-power devices function efficiently even at very high temperatures, such as 200 degrees Celsius.

The research team was led by Ankush Bag, assistant professor, department of electronics and electrical engineering and Centre for Nanotechnology,  IIT-G, in collaboration with  IIT Mandi and Institute of Sensor and Actuator Systems, Technical University, Wien.

The research team has developed an innovative and cost-effective technology to grow ultra wide band gap semiconducting material named gallium oxide. This is achieved through a customised low-pressure chemical vapor deposition (LPCVD) system.

Emphasising on the need of this research Bag said, ”Power Semiconductor devices are the heart of every power electronic system and function primarily as efficient switches, toggling ON and OFF to condition incoming power from the grid to be used by the end-user. For emerging high-power applications, there is a demand for compound semiconductor materials with an  ultra-wide bandgap.”

Power electronic systems play a vital role to manage and control the flow of electricity. They are crucial for converting electrical energy from both renewable including solar and wind, and non-renewable sources including thermal power plants, into a form compatible with end-user applications in terms of voltage, current and frequency.

However, there will always be some losses incurred when the electrical energy passes through a typical power electronic system.

“The main challenge was to make thin and smooth films out of the material.  After multiple trials and rigorous study, we optimised the gallium oxide semiconductor and incorporated it with tin to improve and modulate its conductivity. We have successfully developed superior quality ultra-wide bandgap compound semiconductors and fabricated two terminal devices. The applications of this technology extend to electric vehicles, high voltage transmission, traction systems, and industrial automation,” he said.

The findings of the study have been published in multiple research papers


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