U.S. DOE Awards SUNY Poly $720,000 for Development of GaN Power Switches

SUNY Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly) in Albany, New York USA, reported that the U.S. Department of Energy has awarded $720,000 in federal funding to the Interim Dean of Graduate Studies Dr. Fatemeh (Shadi) Shahedipour-Sandvik and her team of collaborators. The funding comes from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E).
The team intends to use the grant to develop more efficient and powerful high-performance GaN power switches at SUNY Poly for power electronics applications.

Such switches can be used in many applications. The most far-reaching of these applications is enabling a more efficient energy grid. The research project is in partnership with Dr. Woongje Sung of SUNY Poly, Drexel University, Gyrotron Technology, Inc., and the Army Research Lab.

Grant Award is Part of ARPA-E’s PNDIODES Project

The grant for SUNY Poly research is a portion of a total of $6.9 million in funding that the U.S. DOE ARPA-E is contributing through its Power Nitride Doping Innovation Offers Devices Enabling SWITCHES (PNDIODES) program to seven organizations and institutions. With PNDIODES, ARPA-E is undertaking a particular challenge in wide-bandgap semiconductor production.

The PNDIODES-funded research focuses on the process called selective area doping, which adds a specific impurity to a semiconductor to change its electrical properties and achieve useful performance characteristics for electronics.

Developing a reliable and practical doping process that can be applied to specific regions of GaN and GaN alloys is an important goal on the way toward the economic fabrication of GaN-based power electronics devices that PNDIODES seeks to achieve. Ultimately, the PNDIODES project teams intend to develop new ways of building semiconductors for high performance, high-powered applications such as aerospace, electric vehicles, and the grid.

Prof. Shahedipour-Sandkvik team’s research will concentrate on ion implantation and use new annealing techniques to develop processes that activate implanted silicon or magnesium in GaN for building p-n junctions, which control the flow of electrons within an integrated circuit.