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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/N01202X/1
Title: EPSRC Manufacturing Fellowship in Gallium Nitride
Principal Investigator: Wallis, Professor DJ
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Plessey Semiconductors Ltd University of Glasgow University of Sheffield
Department: Materials Science & Metallurgy
Organisation: University of Cambridge
Scheme: EPSRC Fellowship
Starts: 01 March 2016 Ends: 30 April 2017 Value (£): 1,270,945
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Optoelect. Devices & Circuits
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Manufacturing Electronics
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
02 Nov 2015 Manufacturing Fellows 5 Interviews Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Gallium Nitride (GaN) based optoelectronic devices have the potential to revolutionise our society. They are more efficient and more robust than the alternative device technologies used today and therefore last longer and deliver significant energy savings. For example, GaN LEDs can be used to replace compact fluorescent and incandescent light bulbs in our homes and places of work. Such LED light bulbs have the potential to reduce by up to 50% the energy we use for lighting. Since about 20% of all the electricity we generate is used for lighting applications this would save the equivalent of about 8 power stations worth of electricity in the UK each year. Another, potentially even larger area where Gallium Nitride could have a significant impact is power electronics. Power electronic devices are found in electric cars, power supplies for laptop, and the control systems for mains electricity. Since GaN power electronics can handle more power, operate at higher voltages and are again significantly more efficient than other semiconductor technologies, it is estimated that by switching to GaN power electronics it may be possible to save up to £1 trillion each year in global energy costs.

From these examples it is clear that GaN devices can significantly help to reduce our demand for energy and therefore our Carbon footprint. However, for this potential to be realised, research still needs to be done to deliver the promised performance of these devices and to reduce their manufacturing cost so that they are widely accepted.

Production of semiconductor devices involves the manufacture of thousands or even millions of devices simultaneously on a circular wafer. One of the developments which has allowed the low cost and pervasive nature of Silicon electronics today are the economies of scale that can be achieved when large diameter wafer are used. A key step therefore in the manufacturing of low cost GaN devices is the development of high quality GaN layers grown onto large diameter Silicon wafers. This will allow the high volume production techniques that have been developed for the Silicon electronics industry to be applied for GaN devices reducing their cost by up to 80%.

Research carried out in this fellowship will provide new knowledge about how to grow and control GaN device layers. This will allow the promise of these devices to be realised enabling higher efficiencies, new applications and growth on large diameter Silicon substrates (upto 200mm). By carrying out this research in close collaboration with UK industry, the developments will be focused towards real products and address some of the real world challenges associated with delivering high performance and reliable devices. This will also ensure that the research supports the developing GaN device manufacturing base in the UK and can contribute to the commercial exploitation of GaN technology.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Organisation Website: http://www.cam.ac.uk