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1 April 2015

Nano-GaN Power Electronic Devices project aims to save 25% of power lost in energy conversion

Funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), Invest Northern Ireland (InvestNI) and the US National Science Foundation (NSF) government agencies through the US-Ireland R&D Partnership program, over €1m has been awarded for the project 'Nano-GaN Power Electronic Devices'.

Led by professor Peter Parbrook and Anne-Marie Kelleher at Ireland's Tyndall National Institute (in University College Cork), Dr Miryam Arredondo-Arechavala at Northern Ireland's Queens University Belfast, and professor John Shen at the USA's Illinois Institute of Technology, the project aims to improve the efficiency of converting electrical power by up to 25% which, it is reckoned, would represent a huge financial saving to the consumer and could substantially reduce global carbon emissions. This issue is of immense importance to the countries involved in the project, with Ireland in particular importing nearly 90% of its energy (leaving it very perceptible to changes in international markets).

Working with gallium nitride, the researchers will look to stabilize the material so it can be used to convert high voltages to more manageable levels, without the existing high energy losses. The new technology is expected to impact particularly the development of electric and hybrid electric vehicles (EV/HEV).

"This will be the first time nanostructures using gallium nitride will be used for power electronics," says Peter Parbrook, the Stokes Professor of Nitride Materials & Devices at Tyndall. "We will attempt to bend out the material's defects, making it more stable and hence more reliable in the conversion process," he adds. "It has the potential to produce significant energy-saving efficiencies that will benefit people in the home and at work."

The Nano-GaN project will employ four new post-doctorate positions across the three partner research institutions.

Tags: GaN Power electronics Tyndall

Visit: www.tyndall.ie

Visit: www.usirelandresearch.com

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