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High-voltage normally OFF GaN power transistors on SiC and Si substrates

O. Hilt, E. Bahat-Treidel, A. Knauer, F. Brunner, R. Zhytnytska, and J. Würfl

Published in:

MRS Bull., vol. 40, no. 05, pp. 418-424 (2015).


Transistors with 600 V blocking capability and low switching losses are needed for converting one-phase 230 V mains voltage to lower voltage levels in switch-mode power supplies. The transistors operate as a switch and have to block the system voltage with minimized leakage currents in the OFF-state and have to conduct the current in the ON-state with minimized ON-state resistance. Additionally, any switching losses inside the transistor during the transitions in-between OFF and ON-states need to be minimized for efficient powerconverting systems. Effi cient high-voltage switching using gallium nitride (GaN)-based power transistors requires excellent material properties in the GaN/AlGaN epitaxial layers in conjunction with optimized process modules and device layout. In the example presented here, GaN buffer compositions and device geometry have been optimized to obtain very low vertical and lateral OFF-state leakage currents at 600 V drain bias and to enable a fast device turn-on with only a minor increase in dynamic ON-state resistance. The developed technology was applied to GaN layers grown on SiC and Si substrates to allow a direct comparison of both static and dynamic device parameters. By implementing a p-type GaN gate, normally OFF operation was realized for 70 mΩ/600 V transistors on both substrates. The new GaN-based devices outperform established Si-based superjunction metal oxide semiconductor field-effect transistors in terms of gate charge and switching energy.

Ferdinand-Braun-Institut, Leibniz-Institut für Höchstfrequenztechnik, Gustav-Kirchhoff-Straße 4, 12489 Berlin, Germany


Ga; N; III-V; devices; electronic material; semiconducting

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