III-V Electronics

The overall target of FBH’s research activities in the field of III-V electronics is to push the limits of electronic devices in terms of efficient power generation at high frequencies, high voltages, and short switching times. The frequency spectrum ranges from fast power electronics through the mobile communication bands in the lower GHz range to sub-millimeter waves. All activities are based on III-V semiconductor technology; they presently encompass the following major topics:

  • Microwave power amplifier modules based on GaN for the use in base stations for mobile communication –  the focus is on concepts improving  energy efficiency (supply modulation/envelope tracking).
  • Digital power amplifiers – the FBH develops novel digital amplifier architectures for the wireless infrastructure. Long-term target is the complete digital transmitter.
  • Terahertz components & systems –  the focus is on integrated circuits operating at frequencies up to 530 GHz so far, using indium phosphide (InP) bipolar transistors (HBTs). A transferred-substrate process is applied including a wafer-scale InP-on-BiCMOS heterointegration option. With these circuits, compact integrated frontend-modules for radar, sensor and communication systems can be realized.
  • Using plasmonic effects for THz detection and emission – these detectors demonstrate device operation well beyond the classical frequency limits and thus open up possibilities for electronic components in the 1 THz range. We employ GaN as semiconductor for these developments.
  • InP devices – InP HBTs for THz frequencies form the basis for FBH THz systems. Monolithically integrated with Si BiCMOS circuits, this technology is also made available to external customers in cooperation with the Leibniz institute IHP.
  • Lateral GaN-based switching transistors for high voltages, monolithic half-bridges integration combined with hybrid-integrated drivers on AlN substrates – for high-efficiency power converters with high clock speed, low weight, and volume. They are well-suited for a great variety of applications, e.g., in the field of electro mobility.
  • Microplasmas & laser drivers – GaN transistors are also used to develop compact microplasma sources for, e.g., activation of surfaces and high-speed high-current drivers for laser diodes that are integrated into FBH pulse laser sources. This includes vertical GaN-based switching transistors for chip-on-chip mounted high-speed laser pulsing.
  • Investigating transistors based on new wide-bandgap materials such as AlN and Ga2O3 – for power electronics as well as microwave frequencies.

Besides the III-V semiconductor technologies, these research activities require the corresponding advanced simulation, modelling, circuit design, and measurement expertise.