Compound semiconductors powering the future
Compound semiconductors have been identified as one of the six key enabling technologies necessary for future industrial development. As a result, they will play a crucial role in shaping the future global technological landscape.
Technical specifications for optoelectronic devices are becoming more challenging, dictated by the demanding use cases from technology trends. 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, manufacturers strive to minimize any risk of failure in LIDAR systems which are commonly using optoelectronic devices like detectors or lasers.
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 market demands.
Digital developments and environmental issues have driven the technical specifications for these devices at the same time as country governments are pushing for energy efficiency improvements, reduction of CO2 emissions, and increasing sales of new power electronic systems.
III-V compound semiconductors are essential for greater efficiency in switching power converters which are utterly critical to renewable and portable electrical energy. Technologies like GaN MOSFETs can have higher voltage ratings than conventional silicon MOSFETs or BJTs. Improving slightly the efficiency of these materials will enable higher power savings and components of smaller size and with smaller cooling requirements.
5G devices will exist in an environment of higher complexity, more components of smaller size and lower cost, more performance demands, 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 improving the quality of the interfaces in the transistor-based devices based on III/V materials such as GaAs or GaN.
Concentrated photovoltaic 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 the 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.
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.