- R&D 100 Awards
Ultra-Wide-Bandgap Power Electronics can be used as building blocks to make next-generation power electronics for transferring electrical power from a source to a load and converting voltages, currents and frequencies. To create the technology, Sandia National Laboratories grew ultra-wide bandgap (UWBG) aluminum gallium nitride (AlGaN) materials and from them fabricated an Al0.3Ga0.7N PiN diode with a breakdown voltage > 1600 V and an AlN/Al0.85Ga0.15N high electron mobility transistor (HEMT) with a breakdown voltage > 800 V, one of the highest-bandgap transistor ever reported. The UWBG power semiconductor devices developed as a result will miniaturize and vastly improve the performance and efficiency of power systems for electrical power grids, electric vehicles and motors. The device performance, defined by breakdown voltage and electrical conductivity, is ultimately determined by the bandgap of the material utilized. Compared with Si and even with commercial state-of-the-art wide-bandgap (WBG) materials, UWBG AlGaN materials (with bandgaps larger than SiC and GaN) have the potential to dramatically improve device performance and operate at even higher voltages, frequencies and temperatures.