Wide Bandgap Semiconductor Substrates: Current Status and Future Trends
John D. Blevins
Air Force Research Laboratory
Materials and Manufacturing Directorate
Wright-Patterson Air Force
Keywords: Semiconductors, Wide Bandgap, Silicon Carbide, Gallium Nitride, Aluminum Nitride
Wide bandgap semiconductors have expanded the scope of device applications beyond those of silicon and gallium arsenide. Exploitation of wide bandgap semiconductors holds promise for revolutionary improvements in the cost, size, weight and performance of a broad range of military and commercial microelectronic and opt-electronic systems. The inherent material properties of silicon carbide, gallium nitride and aluminum nitride make them ideal candidates for high-power, high-temperature electronics, power amplifiers, switches, and short-wavelength light sources. Gallium nitride based semiconductor technology has provided the fundamental basis for a new class of opto-electronics. New electronic device structures based on silicon carbide and/or gallium nitride have demonstrated remarkable performance and are being considered for next generation military radar and commercial wireless applications. Additionally, silicon carbide devices have been demonstrated that exhibit superior high-efficiency power switching capability, potentially leading to new capabilities in power distribution as well as electric vehicle technology. Critical to the realization of these enabling capabilities are the availability of high quality affordable substrate materials. The Department of Defense has invested heavily in bulk growth research and development of silicon carbide, gallium nitride and more recently aluminum nitride. A synopsis of current capabilities and future challenges for commercialization of these materials will be discussed.