Thursday, August 3, 2023

Thomas Folland 2

Assistant Professor Thomas Folland has received a $434,814 grant from the Office of Naval Research to develop nano-optic infrared probes to characterize new semiconductor materials through award number N00014-23-1-2616.

The project titled “Ultrafast, nano-optic and temperature-dependent infrared (IR) probes for wide bandgap semiconductor characterization” will demonstrate the potential for infrared probes for imaging and quantifying the electronic, optical, and phonon behaviors of emerging wide bandgap (WBG) semiconductor materials.

In the project abstract, Folland says that improvements in solid state power electronics are a key component in rectifying AC to DC, the key component of compact and fast chargers for batteries. Gallium nitride grown on silicon carbide electronics is widely used in these applications. However, pushing to higher powers and voltages requires improvements in material quality.

One way to achieve this is to create all gallium nitride electronics (known as vertical GaN), but challenges have persisted in developing this material system. There are questions about the properties of the materials, including how defects and dopants (substances used to produce a desired electrical characteristic) affect electrical performance in semiconductors. For vertical GaN devices, these properties are presented not only as a function of lateral position on the wafer, but also as depth under the surface, extending into the active layers of these devices, and must also be quantified under normal operation.

Current characterization approaches cannot meet all these requirements for GaN, so new methods need to be developed to advance the understanding of GaN and other emerging WBG semiconductors. Folland proposes to use ultrafast, nano-optic, and temperature-dependent infrared probes can overcome these challenges and advance our understanding of WBG semiconductor materials and devices.


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