Robustness and Reliability of GaN Technology in Power Switching Applications

A special issue of Applied Sciences (ISSN 2076-3417). This special issue belongs to the section "Applied Physics General".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2023) | Viewed by 21754

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Department of Electrical and Information Engineering “Maurizio Scarano”, University of Cassino and Southern Lazio, 03043 Cassino, Italy
Interests: power devices; semiconductor devices modeling; semiconductor device reliability

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

GaN devices are now much more than a promise in modern electronics. Dozens of manufacturers market GaN devices that have found applications in various fields of electronics, from power supplies to RF power amplifiers.

However, in addition to the well-known benefits of using WBG devices, new challenges arise. On the one hand, we have devices whose reliability is linked to degradation phenomena that are very different from those of traditional silicon devices.

On the other hand, to take full advantage of the benefits deriving from the use of GaN devices, it is necessary to rethink the general rules used in the design of circuits based on silicon devices. This requires the careful design of driver circuits, the application of new high-frequency design principles, reliable switching and optimal energy efficiency.

The purpose of this Special Issue is to address the problems of GaN devices together with those of the circuits in which they are inserted, to define the system-level reliability of GaN.

Prof. Dr. Annunziata Sanseverino
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • GaN power devices
  • GaN device reliability
  • power conversion
  • new circuit topologies
  • simulation and modeling of GaN devices
  • RF devices
  • space applications

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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14 pages, 4480 KiB  
Article
Temperature-Dependent Dynamic on Resistance in Gamma-Irradiated AlGaN/GaN Power HEMTs
by Enrique Maset, Pedro Martín-Holgado, Yolanda Morilla, David Gilabert, Esteban Sanchis-Kilders and Pedro J. Martínez
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(22), 11578; https://doi.org/10.3390/app122211578 - 15 Nov 2022
Viewed by 1238
Abstract
Dynamic RON is a key parameter in terms of device reliability and the efficiency of power-switching converters. In this study, commercial off-the-shelf GaN-on-Si power high-electron-mobility transistors (HEMTs) were irradiated using different regimes of accumulative gamma rays with a 60Co source of [...] Read more.
Dynamic RON is a key parameter in terms of device reliability and the efficiency of power-switching converters. In this study, commercial off-the-shelf GaN-on-Si power high-electron-mobility transistors (HEMTs) were irradiated using different regimes of accumulative gamma rays with a 60Co source of photon energy (1.33 MeV), while a base temperature of 53 °C and 133 °C during the irradiation test was applied. This test campaign had the objective of investigating how the combination of gamma irradiation and temperature affects dynamic on-resistance (RON) behaviour. The results indicated that gate voltage bias stress affected the degradation of dynamic on-resistance when irradiation was applied, and that temperature was an accelerating factor in dynamic on-resistance degradation. Finally, we obtained a partial reduction in dynamic RON when a total ionising dose of around 140 krad(SiO2) was applied and the base temperature during the irradiation test was not high. Full article
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17 pages, 1016 KiB  
Article
Self-Heating of Annealed Ti/Al/Ni/Au Contacts to Two-Dimensional Electron Gas in AlGaN/GaN Heterostructures
by Emilis Šermukšnis, Justinas Jorudas, Artūr Šimukovič, Vitalij Kovalevskij and Irmantas Kašalynas
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(21), 11079; https://doi.org/10.3390/app122111079 - 1 Nov 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1488
Abstract
In this work, we investigated the self-heating effects of annealed Ti/Al/Ni/Au ohmic contacts and two-dimensional electron gas (2DEG) in AlGaN/GaN heterostructures under strong electric field by using the short pulse current–voltage and microwave noise measurement techniques. The experimental results demonstrated that the self-heating [...] Read more.
In this work, we investigated the self-heating effects of annealed Ti/Al/Ni/Au ohmic contacts and two-dimensional electron gas (2DEG) in AlGaN/GaN heterostructures under strong electric field by using the short pulse current–voltage and microwave noise measurement techniques. The experimental results demonstrated that the self-heating phenomena in ohmic contacts with the increase of current may dominate over the electrical performances of 2DEG channel. Moreover, the excess noise temperature of contact resistance was found to be more than four times higher than that of 2DEG channel at the same high current density values. The results reveal the importance of self-heating of the ohmic contacts on the device performance under short-duration (only 100 ns) and low-duty-cycle (only 10−5) pulse regime. Full article
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21 pages, 8405 KiB  
Article
Influence of Quality of Mounting Process of RF Transistors on Their Thermal Parameters and Lifetime
by Krzysztof Górecki, Wojciech Kowalke and Przemysław Ptak
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(12), 6113; https://doi.org/10.3390/app12126113 - 16 Jun 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1532
Abstract
The paper presents the results of investigations illustrating the influence of imperfections in the soldering process on thermal properties of transistors operating in RF (Radio Frequency) systems. The methods of measurements used to determine the junction and case temperature of the tested transistors [...] Read more.
The paper presents the results of investigations illustrating the influence of imperfections in the soldering process on thermal properties of transistors operating in RF (Radio Frequency) systems. The methods of measurements used to determine the junction and case temperature of the tested transistors and their thermal resistance are described. The results of the performed measurements are presented and discussed, and their statistical analysis is carried out. The correlation between thermal parameters of the tested transistors, parameters of the assembly process and the measurement conditions is investigated. Some calculation results illustrating an influence of device thermal resistance and dissipated power on changing its lifetime are shown and discussed. It is also shown that no correlation between the void sizes and the device thermal resistance and lifetime is observed. Possibilities of improving the assembly process are indicated, which allows extending the expected lifetime of the tested transistors. Full article
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10 pages, 6955 KiB  
Article
GaN-on-Si: Monolithically Integrated All-GaN Drivers for High-Voltage DC-DC Power Conversion
by Chin Hsia and Deng-Fong Lu
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(10), 5109; https://doi.org/10.3390/app12105109 - 19 May 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2088
Abstract
This paper presents a novel integrated half-bridge driver architecture using GaN-on-Si process for high-speed and high-voltage DC-DC converters. The entire circuit includes only enhancement mode (E-mode) and depletion-mode (D-mode) GaN transistors. The high-side driver circuit adopts the E-stacked E/D-mode (EED) architecture, which can [...] Read more.
This paper presents a novel integrated half-bridge driver architecture using GaN-on-Si process for high-speed and high-voltage DC-DC converters. The entire circuit includes only enhancement mode (E-mode) and depletion-mode (D-mode) GaN transistors. The high-side driver circuit adopts the E-stacked E/D-mode (EED) architecture, which can directly drive the gate of the high-side transistor with a low-voltage signal without using an additional level shifter, which simplifies the design and reduces propagation delay. In addition, the low-side power transistor is driven by stacking two D/E-mode devices. This architecture separates the high-side pulse from the low-side drive signal to prevent false triggering of the low-side driver. The designed fully integrated GaN driver can output a high-voltage pulse wave with an operating frequency greater than 1 MHz when the input voltage is greater than 200 V. The rise and fall times of the high-voltage pulse wave operating at a peak voltage of 200 V are 54.4 ns and 57.6 ns, respectively. The experimental results show that the circuit can effectively drive the half-bridge circuit and be applied to a buck converter. The designed buck converter can deliver up to 20.5 W of output power, and the maximum efficiency achieves 90.7%. Full article
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8 pages, 7040 KiB  
Article
Monolithic Si-Based AlGaN/GaN MIS-HEMTs Comparator and Its High Temperature Characteristics
by Fan Li, Ang Li, Yuhao Zhu, Chengmurong Ding, Yubo Wang, Weisheng Wang, Miao Cui, Yinchao Zhao, Huiqing Wen and Wen Liu
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(24), 12057; https://doi.org/10.3390/app112412057 - 17 Dec 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3256
Abstract
Monolithic GaN High Electron Mobility Transistor (HEMT)-integrated circuits are a promising application of wide band-gap materials. To date, most GaN-based devices behave as NMOS-like transistors. As only NMOS GaN HEMT is currently commercially available, its control circuit requires special design if monolithic integration [...] Read more.
Monolithic GaN High Electron Mobility Transistor (HEMT)-integrated circuits are a promising application of wide band-gap materials. To date, most GaN-based devices behave as NMOS-like transistors. As only NMOS GaN HEMT is currently commercially available, its control circuit requires special design if monolithic integration is desired. This article analyzes the schematics of a GaN-based comparator, and three comparator structures are compared through ADS simulation. The optimal structure with the bootstrapped technique is fabricated based on AlGaN/GaN Metal–Insulator–Semiconductor (MIS) HEMT with the recessed gate method. The comparator has excellent static characteristics when the reference voltage increases from 3 V to 8 V. Dynamic waveforms from 10 kHz to 1 MHz are also obtained. High-temperature tests from 25 °C to 250 °C are applied upon both DC and AC characteristics. The mechanisms of instability issues are explained under dynamic working condition. The results prove that the comparator can be used in the state-of-art mixed-signal circuits, demonstrating the potential for the monolithic all-GaN integrated circuits. Full article
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8 pages, 31531 KiB  
Article
An Accurate Switching Current Measurement Based on Resistive Shunt Applied to Short Circuit GaN HEMT Characterization
by Carmine Abbate, Leandro Colella, Roberto Di Folco, Giovanni Busatto, Emanuele Martano, Simone Palazzo, Annunziata Sanseverino and Francesco Velardi
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(19), 9138; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11199138 - 1 Oct 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2035
Abstract
The use of a resistive shunt is one of the simplest and most used methods for measuring current in an electronic device. Many researchers use this method to measure drain current during short-circuiting of fast devices such as GaN HEMTs. However, the high [...] Read more.
The use of a resistive shunt is one of the simplest and most used methods for measuring current in an electronic device. Many researchers use this method to measure drain current during short-circuiting of fast devices such as GaN HEMTs. However, the high switching speed of these devices together with the non-ideality of the shunt resistors produces an overestimation of the current in the initial phases of the transient. In this paper, a passive compensation network is proposed, which is formed by adding an inductor to the voltage measurement circuit and allows an accurate measurement of the current using the resistive shunt even in the presence of very fast devices. The proposed method is validated by simulations and experimental measurements. Full article
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5 pages, 2868 KiB  
Article
Design and Switching Characteristics of Flip-Chip GaN Half-Bridge Modules Integrated with Drivers
by Lin Wang, Zhe Cheng, Zhi-Guo Yu, De-Feng Lin, Zhe Liu, Li-Fang Jia and Yun Zhang
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(15), 7057; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11157057 - 30 Jul 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1815
Abstract
Half-bridge modules with integrated GaN high electron mobility transistors (HEMTs) and driver dies were designed and fabricated in this research. Our design uses flip-chip technology for fabrication, instead of more generally applied wire bonding, to reduce parasitic inductance in both the driver-gate and [...] Read more.
Half-bridge modules with integrated GaN high electron mobility transistors (HEMTs) and driver dies were designed and fabricated in this research. Our design uses flip-chip technology for fabrication, instead of more generally applied wire bonding, to reduce parasitic inductance in both the driver-gate and drain-source loops. Modules were prepared using both methods and the double-pulse test was applied to evaluate and compare their switching characteristics. The gate voltage (Vgs) waveform of the flip-chip module showed no overshoot during the turn-on period, and a small oscillation during the turn-off period. The probabilities of gate damage and false turn-on were greatly reduced. The inductance in the drain-source loop of the module was measured to be 3.4 nH. The rise and fall times of the drain voltage (Vds) were 12.9 and 5.8 ns, respectively, with an overshoot of only 4.8 V during the turn-off period under Vdc = 100 V. These results indicate that the use of flip-chip technology along with the integration of GaN HEMTs with driver dies can effectively reduce the parasitic inductance and improve the switching performance of GaN half-bridge modules compared to wire bonding. Full article
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10 pages, 4757 KiB  
Article
Investigations about Al and Cu-Based Planar Spiral Inductors on Sapphire for GaN-Based RF Applications
by Chen Lin, Teng Zhan, Junxi Wang, Jinmin Li, Zhiqiang Liu and Xiaoyan Yi
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(11), 5164; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11115164 - 2 Jun 2021
Viewed by 2216
Abstract
Conventionally, Cu is preferred over Al to fabricate integrated inductors with higher quality factors on either silicon or sapphire substrates, profiting from its lower resistivity. However, after investigating and comparing these two kinds of metal multilayers in terms of fabrication process, electrical conductivity, [...] Read more.
Conventionally, Cu is preferred over Al to fabricate integrated inductors with higher quality factors on either silicon or sapphire substrates, profiting from its lower resistivity. However, after investigating and comparing these two kinds of metal multilayers in terms of fabrication process, electrical conductivity, in-depth profile analysis and performance of actual inductors, the Al-based metal multilayer exhibits competitive ability in fabricating thin-film inductors on sapphire compared to Cu-based multilayers. This is attributed to the degradation in electrical conductivity out of oxidation of Cu-based metal sublayers or forming alloys between them. Furthermore, in order to avoid complicated de-embedding procedures in the characterization of the on-chip inductors, a six-element equivalent physical model, which takes the parasitic effect of radio-frequency (RF) test structures into account, is proposed and validated by matching well with embedded measurement results. Full article
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Review

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22 pages, 2682 KiB  
Review
High Frequency, High Efficiency, and High Power Density GaN-Based LLC Resonant Converter: State-of-the-Art and Perspectives
by Seyed Abolfazl Mortazavizadeh, Simone Palazzo, Arturo Amendola, Enzo De Santis, Dario Di Ruzza, Giuseppe Panariello, Annunziata Sanseverino, Francesco Velardi and Giovanni Busatto
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(23), 11350; https://doi.org/10.3390/app112311350 - 30 Nov 2021
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 4692
Abstract
Soft switching for both primary and secondary side devices is available by using LLC converters. This resonant converter is an ideal candidate for today’s high frequency, high efficiency, and high power density applications like adapters, Uninterrupted Power Supplies (UPS), Solid State Transformers (SST), [...] Read more.
Soft switching for both primary and secondary side devices is available by using LLC converters. This resonant converter is an ideal candidate for today’s high frequency, high efficiency, and high power density applications like adapters, Uninterrupted Power Supplies (UPS), Solid State Transformers (SST), electric vehicle battery chargers, renewable energy systems, servers, and telecom systems. Using Gallium-Nitride (GaN)-based power switches in this converter merits more and more switching frequency, power density, and efficiency. Therefore, the present paper focused on GaN-based LLC resonant converters. The converter structure, operation regions, design steps, and drive system are described precisely. Then its losses are discussed, and the magnets and inductance characteristics are investigated. After that, various interleaved topologies, as a solution to improve power density and decrease current ripples, have been discussed. Also, some challenges and concerns related to GaN-based LLC converters have been reviewed. Commercially available power transistors based on various technologies, i.e., GaN HEMT, Silicon (Si) MOSFET, and Silicon Carbide (SiC) have been compared. Finally, the LLC resonant converter has been simulated by taking advantage of LTspice and GaN HEMT merits, as compared with Si MOSFETs. Full article
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