KONTROX™ ENABLES UNPRECEDENTED PERFORMANCE OF III-V BASED DEVICES IN MULTIPLE FIELDS OF APPLICATIONS
COMPOUND SEMICONDUCTORS HAVE BEEN IDENTIFIED AS ONE OF THE SIX KEY ENABLING TECHNOLOGIES CRUCIAL FOR FUTURE INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT.
AS A RESULT, THEY WILL PLAY A CRUCIAL ROLE IN ENABLING FURTHER INDUSTRIAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT:
Optoelectronic devices are used to source, detect and control light; they play a major role in a vast number of applications such as telecommunications, monitoring and sensing, LIDAR, or industrial manufacturing equipment. Examples of these devices are LEDs, image sensors, IR detectors, communication lasers, to name few. All these devices are made of compound semiconductor materials.
Technical specifications for these devices are becoming more challenging, dictated by the demanding use cases from technology trends. For example, thanks to the expansion of IoT and the deployment of 5G networks the amounts of data exchange are growing exponentially increasing the requirements for communication devices, lasers and receivers. In autonomous vehicles, manufactures stive to minimize any risk of failure in LIDAR systems which are commonly using optoelectronic devices like detectors or lasers. Highest reliability of these devices must be ensured, leaving no room for defective components.
Optoelectronics applications problems and performance limitations arise from high concentrations of defects in the interfaces between the materials used to create the chips. Technologies to solve these issues are essential for the industry to follow and meet the market demands.
Power electronics developments, unlike other ‘More than Moore’ areas, are application driven rather than technology driven. Digital developments and environmental issues have driven the technical specifications for these devices when for instance, country goverments are pushing for energy efficiency improvements, reduction of CO2 emissions and increasing sales of new power electronic systems”, As an example, the EV/HEV segment is driven technologically by CO2 emission reduction targets, higher efficiency requirements or less dependency on the oil industry. EV/HEV sector is revolutionizing the power electronics industry from market and business perspectives, as well as from technology innovations where GaN are gaining importancy thanks to their properties such as higher band gaps, lower conduction losses, and higher electron mobility. These properties enable to reduce the size ,and thus the weight of the components and their passives since the switching frequency can be increased while having overall less losses, thus making the system more efficient.
The GaN power electronic technology is still not mature enough as there is still a way to achieve higher performance of these wide bandgap devices.
The number of wireless devices expands from mobile phones to the rapidly emerging Internet of Things (IoT). 5G as a standard continues to advance data speeds for mobile video and fixed wireless devices, while also providing connectivity for the massive number of IoT devices and the soon coming vast fleet of interconnected vehicles.
5G devices will exist in an environment that includes more complexity, more components (particularly filters), more performance demands, smaller size and lower cost components, as well as dual connectivity between cellular and WiFi networks. RF front-end designs for all wireless products are driven by cost, power efficiency and available space within the unit. They must be small, highly efficient, and able to be manufactured in large quantities to meet fast-growing global demand.
This will only be achieved by implementing novel production technologies capable of improve the quality of the interfaces in the transistor based devices based on III/V materiasl such as GaAs or GaN.
Usually RF components consist on some kind of transistor structures, where their functionally is much compromised by the amounts of defects in the interfaces of the chanel and gate insulators. Having a very high quality on these interfaces, free of defects, is the way to improve the performance.
Concentrated Photovoltaics is another application where performance is the key, aiming at efficiency levels >40% compared to ~20% of traditional solar cells. These levels can only be reached using multijunction cells of III-V compound semiconductors materials. These cells absorb different wavelengths of sunlight in different layers, allowing them to capture more energy from the sun. However, their manufacturing is very expensive, due to which the use of these devices is limited to military or space applications.
Cost reduction will widen the scope of application
Minimizing the defects and increasing the quality of the interfaces not only will increase the efficiency, but help reduce the costs as the yield will be increased resulting in wider usage in a variety of applications.
Next generation CMOS
The most notable upcoming application for III-V compound semiconductors is in the next-generation digital electronics and logic circuits (i.e. microprocessors). The industry believes that the transistor channel material must be changed from silicon to III-V compound semiconductor in order to further enhance the electrical performance of the transistors. This application demands superior quality of the interface between the gate oxide insulator and III-V material as this interface has the most crucial role in the CMOS operation.