Researchers at U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) Grow Material That May Allow GaN on Most Anything

David Meyer’s group at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) has developed a method to grow thin films of a transition metal nitride called niobium nitride (Nb2N). The thin crystalline substance features a similar structure to GaN. However, it has dramatically different electrical and physical properties. For example, Nb2N is metallic instead of semiconducting, and at cryogenic temperatures, it can become superconductive.

Notably, the newly created material can dissolve away in a reactive gas and leave nearby GaN electronics structures untouched.Meyer and his team at NRL have devised a patent-pending lift-off technique that they claim allows Nb2N the Nb2N substance to be transferred onto virtually any material. The team anticipates that this method could allow GaN device integration into almost any electronics.

Meyer was a little more cautious about explaining the promise of the technology. “We have determined that Nb2N has several unique properties that can lead to the realization of new microelectronic devices and circuits,” said Meyer. “We have this method, and it’s really flexible. We anticipate that there are several applications that would benefit from having GaN technology integrated at the device or circuit level,” said Meyer.