Delaware University scientists have created a high-electron mobility transistor for faster and cheaper wireless communications.
The brainchild of Delaware assistant professor Yuping Zeng, the device amplifies and controls electrical current, using gallium nitride (GaN) with indium aluminum-nitride as the barrier on a silicon substrate.
According to the university, Zeng’s transistor has record-setting properties, including record low gate leakage current (a measure of current loss), and a record high on/off current ratio (the magnitude of the difference of current transmitted between the on state and off state).
It also has a record high current gain cutoff frequency (an indication of how much data can be transmitted with a wide range of frequencies). This makes it useful for higher bandwidth wireless communication systems.
According to Zeng, the new transistor can handle more voltage than other devices of its type, and requires less battery life too.
“We are making this high-speed transistor because we want to expand the bandwidth of wireless communications, and this will give us more information for a certain limited time,” intones Zeng.
“It can also be used for space applications because the gallium nitride transistor we used is radiation robust, and it is also wide bandgap material, so it can tolerate a lot of power.”
The transistors are made on a low-cost silicon substrate, “and this process can also be compatible with silicon Complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) technology, which is the conventional technology used for semiconductors,” notes Zeng.
Zeng’s group is also working on titanium oxide transistors which are transparent and could be used for backplane displays.
It could as well compete with the technology for currently commercially used indium-gallium-zinc oxide (InGaZnO) transistors.
Image and content: Kathy F. Atkinson/University of Delaware