8 October 2014

Université de Sherbrooke is in the Race to Design the Semiconductor of the Future


In order to further miniaturize electronic circuits, scientists from all over the world are working on emerging materials to replace silicon, whose capacities have now been stretched to their limits. Hassan Maher, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering at the Université de Sherbrooke, is among the leading scientists partaking in this endeavour!

Thanks to its initiatives and to infrastructure at the Interdisciplinary Institute for Technological Innovation (3IT) in Sherbrooke’s Innovation Park, the UdeS is Canada’s leader in the development of circuits made of gallium nitride (GaN), a semiconductor that is highly promising but quite expensive.

To circumvent this issue as well as the decision makers’ reluctance to adopt new technologies, Hassan Maher relies on a clever strategy: combining silicon with gallium nitride!

The latter is a rugged and efficient material that can withstand intense heat and allow high electrical current to flow.

907377520-img_0122“What we are working on here in Sherbrooke aims to launch GaN technology by coating thin layers of GaN on silicon wafers. This will enable us to harness the technical possibilities of GaN while making the technology compatible with existing manufacturing infrastructure,” explains the researcher.

In time, GaN technology could be used in electric and hybrid vehicles, for the production of solar energy (concentrated photovoltaic), and… for the power adapters we use to recharge our cell phones and laptops!

Source :Université de Sherbrooke
Photo credit: Michel Caron and Hassan Maher

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