Diamond device has highest breakdown voltage
US scientists show device that can sustain up to 9 kV
Researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign have developed a semiconductor device made using diamond, that has the highest breakdown voltage and lowest leakage current compared to previously reported diamond devices.
It is estimated that currently, 50 percent of the world’s electricity is controlled by power devices, and in less than a decade, it is expected that that number will increase to 80 percent, while simultaneously, the demand for electricity will increase by 50 percent by 2050.
“To meet those electricity demands and modernise the electrical grid, it’s very important that we move away from conventional materials, like silicon, to the new materials that we are seeing being adopted today like SiC and the next generation of semiconductors—ultra-wide bandgap materials—such as AlN, diamond and related compounds,” says electrical and computer engineering professor Can Bayram, who led this research, along with graduate student Zhuoran Han. The results of this work were published in the journal IEEE Electron Device Letters.
In this work, Bayram and Han show that their diamond device (pictured above measuring 4 mm x 4 mm) can sustain high voltage, approximately 5 kV, although the voltage was limited by setup of measurement and not from the device itself. In theory, the device can sustain up to 9 kV. This is the highest voltage reported for a diamond device. Besides the highest breakdown voltage, the device also demonstrates the lowest leakage current, which affects the overall efficiency and reliability of the device.
Han says, “We built an electronic device better suited for high power, high voltage applications for the future electric grid and other power applications. And we built this device on an ultra-wide bandgap material, synthetic diamond, which promises better efficiency and better performance than current generation devices. Hopefully, we will continue optimizing this device and other configurations so that we can approach the performance limits of diamond’s material potential.”
'Diamond p-Type Lateral Schottky Barrier Diodes With High Breakdown Voltage (4612 V at 0.01 mA/Mm)' by Zhuoran Han and Can Bayram; IEEE Electron Device Letters (2023)