GaNTT - Gallium Nitride Trench-FET Development for Automotive Power Applications

Abstract

This project brings together the complementary capability of academic and industrial partners within the Compound Semiconductor (CS) supply chain to drive the development of a new Gallium Nitride (GaN) based process platform for Automotive Power Electronics in-line with the roadmap recently published by the Advanced Propulsion Centre on behalf of the Automotive Council UK "Towards 2040: A Guide to Automotive Propulsion Technologies".

The semiconductor supply chain directly employs over 1200 people in the local region. This new platform technology would help accelerate the transition of the industry from mainly silicon device manufacture to higher margin, more innovative CS devices and provide the UK with a novel sovereign GaN capability. It also supports the development of new thick GaN epitaxial materials needed to manufacture the vertical GaN transistors designed by Swansea University's Electronic Systems Design Centre. The Centre is a world-leader in semiconductor device modelling and received the TechWorks University Research Group of the Year award in 2016.

The CS Applications Catapult and Turbo Power Systems (TPS) will evaluate the new GaN power devices developed in an on-vehicle application. Our vision is that the developed platform technology will deliver performance improvements in line with the Power Electronics Roadmap which sets challenging cost and performance targets for future power devices that can't be met with existing silicon based technology. The 2035 power density targets of 50kW/kg for inverters and DC-DC converters are ambitious and will only be possible through the use of wide band gap (WBG) materials, such as GaN. This proposal outlines a clear route to delivering the required capability through a UK supply chain.

The main areas of focus include the development of a UK source of thick GaN epi substrates required for the vertical device, which also requires damage free GaN etching to form a vertical channel and successful materials integration of the gate dielectrics and gate electrode.

The project is highly innovative from a design perspective and Swansea University have filed a patent application for the device design. The epitaxy growth is also innovative in the use of multiple substrate platforms, the unique step grading layers and the in-situ doping of the p-body region.

The new device will be proven in an on-vehicle application, and provide cost and performance data. An initial 200V application will be evaluated, but by parallel materials and process development, the platform will be demonstrated to be scaleable to 600V within the project timeframe.

Lead Participant

Project Cost

Grant Offer

Compound Semiconductor Centre Limited, Cardiff, £314,816 £ 157,408
 

Participant

Coventry University, United Kingdom £171,968 £ 171,968
Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult Limited, Cardiff £55,523 £ 55,523
Turbo Power Systems Limited, Gateshead £50,140 £ 30,084
SPTS Technologies Limited, Newport £317,637 £ 158,818
Swansea University, United Kingdom £172,294 £ 172,294
Newport Wafer Fab Ltd £284,314 £ 142,157

Publications

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