GaN Power Devices and Applications

A special issue of Electronics (ISSN 2079-9292). This special issue belongs to the section "Semiconductor Devices".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 August 2024 | Viewed by 10137

Special Issue Editors


E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
State Key Laboratory of Electronic Thin Films and Integrated Devices, University of Electronic Science and Technology, Chengdu 610000, China
Interests: GaN driver; high power density DC-DC converters

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
State Key Laboratory of Electronic Thin Films and Integrated Devices, University of Electronic Science and Technology, Chengdu 610000, China
Interests: GaN power devices

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

GaN devices achieve a good figure-of-merit compared to Si power devices, which can push switching frequency to MHz and break through the bottleneck of power density and efficiency of traditional power supplies. Based on these advantages, it can be widely used in various applications, including miniaturized power supplies, power amplifiers, Lidar, and so on. However, the physical particularity of GaN requires customized gate drive circuits and advanced loop control strategies to enhance the reliability of GaN switch applications as well as its high-frequency advantages. Meanwhile, device reliability in high-frequency and high-power density applications is still challenging. The physics responsible for device instability or even device failure under different applications requires further identification. Approaches for device reliability improvement are demanding for GaN power devices toward robust applications.

This Special Issue seeks high-quality contributions that address latent challenges in GaN power devices and applications. Survey and research papers detailing theoretical and experimental developments are welcome. The topics of interest include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Smart gate drivers for GaN, including silicon and monolithic solution;
  • Novel power architecture and circuit design for high power density and fast transient;
  • Physics mechanism of device instability and reliability;
  • Novel device and circuit design for reliability improvement.

Prof. Dr. Xin Ming
Prof. Dr. Qi Zhou
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • GaN
  • High-power-density power converter
  • GaN-based devices
  • power electronics
  • III-nitrides
  • semiconductors

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

15 pages, 5592 KiB  
Article
A Novel Enhancement-Mode Gallium Nitride p-Channel Metal Insulator Semiconductor Field-Effect Transistor with a Buried Back Gate for Gallium Nitride Single-Chip Complementary Logic Circuits
by Haochen Wang, Kuangli Chen, Ning Yang, Jianggen Zhu, Enchuan Duan, Shuting Huang, Yishang Zhao, Bo Zhang and Qi Zhou
Electronics 2024, 13(4), 729; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics13040729 - 10 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1093
Abstract
In this work, a novel enhancement-mode GaN p-MISFET with a buried back gate (BBG) is proposed to improve the gate-to-channel modulation capability of a high drain current. By using the p-GaN/AlN/AlGaN/AlN double heterostructure, the buried 2DEG channel is tailored and connected to the [...] Read more.
In this work, a novel enhancement-mode GaN p-MISFET with a buried back gate (BBG) is proposed to improve the gate-to-channel modulation capability of a high drain current. By using the p-GaN/AlN/AlGaN/AlN double heterostructure, the buried 2DEG channel is tailored and connected to the top metal gate, which acts as a local back gate. Benefiting from the dual-gate structure (i.e., top metal gate and 2DEG BBG), the drain current of the p-MISFET is significantly improved from −2.1 (in the conv. device) to −9.1 mA/mm (in the BBG device). Moreover, the dual-gate design also bodes well for the gate to p-channel control; the subthreshold slope (SS) is substantially reduced from 148 to ~60 mV/dec, and such a low SS can be sustained for more than 3 decades. The back gate effect and the inherent hole compensation mechanism of the dual-gate structure are thoroughly studied by TCAD simulation, revealing their profound impact on enhancing the subthreshold and on-state characteristics in the BBG p-MISFET. Furthermore, the decent device performance of the proposed BBG p-MISFET is projected to the complementary logic inverters by mixed-mode simulation, showcasing excellent voltage transfer characteristics (VTCs) and dynamic switching behavior. The proposed BBG p-MISFET is promising for developing GaN-on-Si monolithically integrated complementary logic and power devices for high efficiency and compact GaN power IC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue GaN Power Devices and Applications)
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15 pages, 9946 KiB  
Article
Steady-State Temperature-Sensitive Electrical Parameters’ Characteristics of GaN HEMT Power Devices
by Kaihong Wang, Yidi Zhu, Hao Zhao, Ruixue Zhao and Binxin Zhu
Electronics 2024, 13(2), 363; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics13020363 - 15 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 819
Abstract
Gallium nitride high-electron-mobility transistor (GaN HEMT) power devices are favored in various scenarios due to their high-power density and efficiency. However, with the significant increase in the heat flux density, the junction temperature of GaN HEMT has become a crucial factor in device [...] Read more.
Gallium nitride high-electron-mobility transistor (GaN HEMT) power devices are favored in various scenarios due to their high-power density and efficiency. However, with the significant increase in the heat flux density, the junction temperature of GaN HEMT has become a crucial factor in device reliability. Since the junction temperature monitoring technology for GaN HEMT based on temperature-sensitive electrical parameters (TSEPs) is still in the exploratory stage, the TSEPs’ characteristics of GaN HEMT have not been definitively established. In this paper, for the common steady-state TSEPs of GaN HEMT, the variation rules of the saturation voltage with low current injection, threshold voltage, and body-like diode voltage drop with temperature are investigated. The influences on the three TSEPs’ characteristics are considered, and their stability is discussed. Through experimental comparison, it is found that the saturation voltage with low current injection retains favorable temperature-sensitive characteristics, which has potential application value in junction temperature measurement. However, the threshold voltage as a TSEP for certain GaN HEMT is not ideal in terms of linearity and stability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue GaN Power Devices and Applications)
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14 pages, 4490 KiB  
Article
Application of High-Speed Gallium Nitride Devices in Mass Spectrometry Sweeping Mode
by Le Han and Yongping Li
Electronics 2023, 12(24), 4966; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics12244966 - 11 Dec 2023
Viewed by 739
Abstract
Quadrupole mass spectrometers are widely used, and voltage scanning is their traditional working mode. By fixing the scanning voltage frequency and changing the value of the RF voltage, ions with different mass numbers can reach the detector in sequence, achieving ion selection. When [...] Read more.
Quadrupole mass spectrometers are widely used, and voltage scanning is their traditional working mode. By fixing the scanning voltage frequency and changing the value of the RF voltage, ions with different mass numbers can reach the detector in sequence, achieving ion selection. When analyzing high-mass molecules, several kilovolts of scanning voltage are required, which is not conducive to the miniaturization and safety of the instrument. By selecting the frequency of the scanning RF power supply and fixing the value of the RF power supply voltage, ion selection can be achieved by changing the frequency of the RF power supply, enabling miniaturized mass spectrometry analysis of high-mass molecules. In this paper, a high-speed gallium nitride driver circuit for frequency scanning mass spectrometry analysis is designed. The NCP51820 high-speed gate driver and INN650D140A gallium nitride MOS tube are selected to form a full-bridge driver, realizing a quadrupole rectangular wave RF power supply. The system has a maximum withstand voltage of 650 V and a frequency range of 400 K–4 MHz, allowing for scanning measurements of mass numbers ranging from 3 to 606 amu. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue GaN Power Devices and Applications)
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12 pages, 5347 KiB  
Article
Fluorine-Based Low-Damage Selective Etching Process for E-Mode p-GaN/AlGaN/GaN HFET Fabrication
by Hyeon-Ji Kim, Jun-Hyeok Yim, Hyungtak Kim and Ho-Young Cha
Electronics 2023, 12(20), 4347; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics12204347 - 20 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1206
Abstract
In this study, we conducted an optimization of a low-damage selective etching process utilizing inductively coupled plasma-reactive ion etch (ICP-RIE) with a fluorine-based gas mixture. This optimization was carried out for the fabrication of p-GaN gated AlGaN/GaN enhancement-mode (E-mode) heterojunction field-effect transistors (HFETs). [...] Read more.
In this study, we conducted an optimization of a low-damage selective etching process utilizing inductively coupled plasma-reactive ion etch (ICP-RIE) with a fluorine-based gas mixture. This optimization was carried out for the fabrication of p-GaN gated AlGaN/GaN enhancement-mode (E-mode) heterojunction field-effect transistors (HFETs). The optimum process conditions resulted in an etch selectivity of 21:1 (=p-GaN:Al0.2Ga0.8N) with a p-GaN etch rate of 5.2 nm/min and an AlGaN etch rate of 0.25 nm/min. In comparison with an oxygen-based selective etching process, the fluorine-based selective etching process demonstrated reduced damage to the etched surface. This was confirmed through current–voltage characteristics and surface roughness inspections. The p-GaN gated AlGaN/GaN E-mode device, fabricated using the optimized fluorine-based selective etching process, achieved a high threshold voltage of 3.5 V with a specific on-resistance of 5.3 mΩ.cm2 for the device and with a gate-to-p-GaN gate distance of 3 μm, a p-GaN gate length of 4 μm, and a p-GaN gate-to-drain distance of 12 μm. The catastrophic breakdown voltage exceeded 1350 V. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue GaN Power Devices and Applications)
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16 pages, 5559 KiB  
Article
Simulation and Comprehensive Analysis of AlGaN/GaN HBT for High Voltage and High Current
by Xinyuan Wang, Lian Zhang, Jiaheng He, Zhe Cheng, Zhe Liu and Yun Zhang
Electronics 2023, 12(17), 3590; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics12173590 - 25 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1036
Abstract
We present a series of TCAD analysis of gallium nitride (GaN) heterojunction bipolar transistors (HBTs) that investigates the impact of various key parameters on the gain characteristics, output characteristics, and breakdown characteristics. It has been observed that the DC gain of the AlGaN/GaN [...] Read more.
We present a series of TCAD analysis of gallium nitride (GaN) heterojunction bipolar transistors (HBTs) that investigates the impact of various key parameters on the gain characteristics, output characteristics, and breakdown characteristics. It has been observed that the DC gain of the AlGaN/GaN HBTs exhibits a non-linear relationship with the increase in the Al fraction. Specifically, the DC gain initially rises, then declines after reaching its peak value at approximately 7%. By optimizing the concentration of the base and the concentration and thickness of the collector epitaxial layer, it is possible to achieve devices with breakdown voltages of 1270 V (with a collector thickness of 6 μm and a carrier concentration of 2 × 1016 cm−3), specific on-resistance of 0.88 mΩ·cm2, and a current gain of 73. In addition, an investigation on breakdown characteristics is conducted for HBTs with two types of substrates, namely QV-HBTs and FV-HBTs, at different inclinations of the ramp. We propose that critical angles are 79° and 69° to prevent the surface breakdown of the device, which helps to achieve an avalanche in GaN HBTs. We anticipate that the aforementioned findings will offer valuable insights for designing GaN-based power HBTs with elevated breakdown thresholds, heightened current densities, and increased power capabilities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue GaN Power Devices and Applications)
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11 pages, 1059 KiB  
Article
Threshold Voltage Measurement Protocol “Triple Sense” Applied to GaN HEMTs
by Tamiris Grossl Bade, Hassan Hamad, Adrien Lambert, Hervé Morel and Dominique Planson
Electronics 2023, 12(11), 2529; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics12112529 - 3 Jun 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1256
Abstract
The threshold voltage instability in p-GaN gate high electron mobility transistors (HEMTs) has been brought into evidence in recent years. It can lead to reliability issues in switching applications, and it can be followed by other degradation mechanisms. In this paper, a [...] Read more.
The threshold voltage instability in p-GaN gate high electron mobility transistors (HEMTs) has been brought into evidence in recent years. It can lead to reliability issues in switching applications, and it can be followed by other degradation mechanisms. In this paper, a Vth measurement protocol established for SiC MOSFETs is applied to GaN HEMTs: the triple sense protocol, which uses voltage bias to precondition the transistor gate. It has been experimentally verified that the proposed protocol increased the stability of the Vth measurement, even for measurements following degrading voltage bias stress on both drain and gate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue GaN Power Devices and Applications)
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11 pages, 4054 KiB  
Article
Investigation of Current Collapse Mechanism on AlGaN/GaN Power Diodes
by Martin Doublet, Nicolas Defrance, Etienne Okada, Loris Pace, Thierry Duquesne, Bouyssou Emilien, Arnaud Yvon, Nadir Idir and Jean-Claude De Jaeger
Electronics 2023, 12(9), 2007; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics12092007 - 26 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1196
Abstract
In this paper, a methodology is proposed for studying the current collapse effects of Gallium Nitride (GaN) power diodes and the consequences on the dynamic on-resistance (RON). Indeed, the growing interest of GaN based, high frequency power conversion requires an accurate characterization and [...] Read more.
In this paper, a methodology is proposed for studying the current collapse effects of Gallium Nitride (GaN) power diodes and the consequences on the dynamic on-resistance (RON). Indeed, the growing interest of GaN based, high frequency power conversion requires an accurate characterization and a deep understanding of the device’s behaviour before any development of power converters. This study can ultimately be used to model observed trap effects and, thus, improve the equivalent electrical model. Using an in-house circuit and a specific experimental setup, a current-collapse phenomenon inherent to gallium nitride semiconductor is studied on planar 650 V—6 A GaN diodes by applying high voltage stresses over a wide range of temperatures. With this method, useful data on activation energy and capture cross section of electrical defects linked to dynamic RON are extracted. Finally, the origins of such defects are discussed and attributed to carbon-related defects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue GaN Power Devices and Applications)
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9 pages, 4186 KiB  
Communication
Optimization of Ohmic Contact to Ultrathin-Barrier AlGaN/GaN Heterostructure via an ‘Ohmic-Before-Passivation’ Process
by Yuan Ji, Sen Huang, Qimeng Jiang, Ruizhe Zhang, Jie Fan, Haibo Yin, Yingkui Zheng, Xinhua Wang, Ke Wei and Xinyu Liu
Electronics 2023, 12(8), 1767; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics12081767 - 7 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1897
Abstract
Non-recessed ohmic contact resistance (Rc) on ultrathin-barrier (UTB) AlGaN(<6 nm)/GaN heterostructure was effectively reduced to a low value of 0.16 Ω·mm. The method called the ‘ohmic-before-passivation’ process was adopted to eliminate the effects of fluorine plasma etching, in which an alloyed [...] Read more.
Non-recessed ohmic contact resistance (Rc) on ultrathin-barrier (UTB) AlGaN(<6 nm)/GaN heterostructure was effectively reduced to a low value of 0.16 Ω·mm. The method called the ‘ohmic-before-passivation’ process was adopted to eliminate the effects of fluorine plasma etching, in which an alloyed Ti/Al/Ni/Au ohmic metal stack was formed prior to passivation. The recovery of 2-D Electron Gas (2DEG) adjacent to the ohmic contact was enhanced by composite double-layer dielectric with AlN/SiNx passivation. It is found that the separation between the recovered 2DEG and the ohmic contacting edge can be remarkably reduced, contributing to a reduced transfer length (LT) and low Rc, as compared to that of ohmic contact to the AlGaN(~20 nm)/GaN heterostructure with a pre-ohmic recess process. Thermionic field emission is verified to be the dominant ohmic contact mechanism by temperature-dependent current-voltage measurements. The low on-resistance of 3.9 Ω·mm and the maximum current density of 750 mA/mm with Vg = 3 V were achieved on the devices with the optimized ohmic contact. The non-recessed ohmic contact with the ‘ohmic-before-passivation’ process is a promising strategy to optimize the performance of low-voltage GaN-based power devices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue GaN Power Devices and Applications)
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