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7 September 2020

DOE STTR contract for SMI and SUNY Poly to co-develop 600V/20A GaN for EVs

Structured Materials Industries Inc (SMI) of Piscataway, NJ, USA – which provides chemical vapor deposition (CVD) systems, components, materials and process development services – has been awarded a Phase I Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR) contract by the US Department of Energy (DOE) to develop pervasive manufacturing infrastructure for GaN (>20A/>600V) qualified for electric vehicle power electronics.

For the project, SMI is partnering with the State University of New York (SUNY) Polytechnic Institute Albany. The team will address issues related to the production of uniform-quality GaN materials on large-area substrates (4-inches and above), design and develop power devices that will perform at high current and high voltage (>20A, >600V, for electric vehicle on-board electronics) and develop production pathways. SMI will focus on developing novel reactor concepts to increase GaN material quality/uniformity across large wafer sizes, while SUNY will use reactor technology to optimize the developed materials and device structures on a 4” substrate. SMI will help to enable the commercialization of both device and reactor technology.

“Our partner at SUNY-Albany, professor Shahedipour-Sandvik, is an expert in the growth of III-N materials and device fabrication and was the first to report enhancement operation in an AlGaN/GaN HEMT,” says SMI. The SUNY-Albany team recently reported a novel integrated body-diode AlGaN/GaN HEMT power device that enables dynamic tuning of the turn-on voltage (Von) and substantially reduces off-current (Ioff).

“We are designing a concept MOCVD system to improve the yield and quality of GaN devices for vehicle power electronics,” says principal investigator and SMI research scientist Dr Arul Arjunan. “The concept system will lead [us] to grow films with both thickness and quality uniformity. In addition to this, we will aim to improve the quality of the film to achieve better devices than currently existing,” he adds. “The success of this program will increase the efficiency of hybrid electric and electric vehicles.”

In Phase I the team will demonstrate GaN power devices at the 100mm wafer scale, which can operate at >600V and >10A (with a Phase I reach goal of >20A and >600V). “At the end of the Phase I program we will define the product scale-up pathways for 100mm, 150mm and 200mm wafer production and packaged device production and we will firm-up customers for the developing processes and device technology,” says SMI.

“Improving power efficiency and lowering costs will help bring greater numbers of more environmentally friendly vehicles to market sooner,” believes SMI’s president & CEO Dr Gary S. Tompa.

Tags: SMI