In a study at the University of North Carolina, engineering researchers have developed more energy-efficient devices than previous technologies. The technique, called “doping,” is done with Gallium Nitride (GaN) in a controlled setting.
A paper published in 2021 had the researchers outline a technique that uses ion implantation and activation on GaN materials which they had termed “doping” the GaN. They had, in other words, integrated impurities onto the GaN material, in specific regions, which then selectively modified the electrical properties of the material, but only in those specific areas.
In this new paper, the researchers have used the technique to create actual devices. Particularly, the team used selectively doped GaN materials to create Junction Barrier Schottky (JBS) diodes.
“Many technologies require power conversion – where power is switched from one format to another,” says Dolar Khachariya, the first author of a paper on the work and a former Ph.D. student at North Carolina State University. “For example, the technology might need to convert AC to DC, or convert electricity into work – like an electric motor. And in any power conversion system, most power loss takes place at the power switch – which is an active component of the electrical circuit that makes the power conversion system.
“Developing more efficient power electronics like power switches reduces the amount of power lost during the conversion process,” says Khachariya, who is now a researcher at Adroit Materials Inc. “This is particularly important for developing technologies to support a more sustainable power infrastructure, such as smart grids.”
“Our work here not only means that we can reduce energy loss in power electronics, but we can also make the systems for power conversion more compact compared to conventional silicon and silicon carbide electronics,” says Ramón Collazo, co-author of the paper and an associate professor of materials science and engineering at NC State. “This makes it possible to incorporate these systems into technologies where they don’t currently fit due to weight or size restrictions, such as in automobiles, ships, airplanes, or technologies distributed throughout a smart grid.”
To read more about the finding of the University of North Carolina research team, see their groundbreaking follow-up study at here.
The NC State University News story can be found here and encapsulates the entire study with quotes from the research team.
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