Project to develop aluminium nitride AlN power transistors and system designs

December 02, 2019 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
A research project in Berlin aims to develop more power efficient high performance transistors based on aluminium nitride (AlN)
A research project in Berlin aims to develop more power efficient high performance transistors based on aluminium nitride (AlN).

The €3.3m "Power transistors based on AlN (ForMikro-LeitBAN)" project is coordinated by the Ferdinand-Braun-Institut for highest frequency technologies in Berlin and will run until 2023.

In Europe alone, it is estimated that more than three terawatt hours of energy are lost each year in the conversion of electrical energy - for example when converting the mains voltage to the low DC voltage for the operation of electronic circuits. The "ForMikro-LeitBAN" project is researching technological measures to further increase efficiency and thus conserve resources. This requires efficient switching power semiconductors that enable a high energy density. If they were used on a large scale, energy savings would be noticeable and make a relevant contribution to CO2 reduction.

The project aims to develop AlN as a new wide bandgap semiconductor material for this task, test it on suitable components and qualify it for future applications in systems. This is because conventional silicon-based power components are making it increasingly difficult to increase the efficiency of electrical converters and power amplifiers. New semiconductor materials with improved properties must therefore be researched and brought to market maturity.  AlN has so far been little researched for electronic applications, offers up to 10,000 times less transmission loss than silicon components.


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