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13 August 2015

University of Arkansas receives $200,000 NSF grant to study GaN device modeling

The University of Arkansas' GRid-connected Advanced Power Electronic Systems Center (GRAPES) has received a $200,000 grant to study the modeling of gallium nitride (GaN) devices. Alan Mantooth, Distinguished Professor of electrical engineering and executive director of the center, will lead the effort.

Researchers at the center work to accelerate the adoption and insertion of power electronics into the electric power grid. Improvements in these devices should ultimately lead to lower costs for consumers and a substantial reduction in carbon emissions.

As a hard-compound, mechanically stable semiconductor material that has high heat capacity and thermal conductivity, GaN can be used to develop devices that can operate at higher voltages, temperatures and switching frequencies than those currently using silicon.

One of the barriers to the acceptance of such new devices is a lack of high-quality models for circuit simulation that allow designers to evaluate them against the entrenched silicon technology. Since the vast majority of all circuit design and simulation is performed in computer programs, the lack of these models makes it very difficult for circuit designers to accurately portray how GaN devices will behave, says University of Arkansas.

The grant will allow the researchers at GRAPES to develop and evaluate a high-performance compact model for GaN power devices. Compact models are used by circuit designers to simulate the performance and behavior of their designs before committing them to manufacture. These models are especially important in power electronic applications where many real-world scenarios can be analyzed safely. Further, statistical and failure mode analyses, which are practically impossible through experimentation, can be easily performed, concludes the University of Arkansas.

See related items:

University of Arkansas wins extra $200,000 NSF grant to further develop high-temperature SiC ICs

Tags: GaN Power electronics

Visit: https://grapes.uark.edu

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