Transistors composed of beta gallium oxide, a type of semiconductor, are being experimented by researchers due to its great potential to the technology of Power Electronics. This is known as a study where the flow of electrical energy in an electronic circuit is being controlled through switching. With this type of transistor, it has the capability to introduce new switches for the optimization of power usage. Advancements in Power Electronics is beneficial because applications such as Aerospace and Military technologies which uses power grids for transmission lines that
can hold electricity makes use of these. Optimization of transistors is being researched since it was discovered that the use of advanced semiconductor materials rather than the typical silicon can provide a breakthrough towards more compact and efficient power electronics. Since its behavior is different from that of the silicon-made transistor, they see it as a potential. In return, the discoveries of the small components can greatly improve everything when it comes to electrical grids and even to the consumer electronics. This was led by the Sandia National Laboratories researchers where it was published in the Applied Physics Letters and Electronic Letters and even presented at various conferences.
Further developments are the focus in semiconductors due to its application in the next-generation power electronics. Not only because it can immeasurably make the applications better but because of it being environmentally friendly since the use of global energy and the harmful effects of greenhouse gas are reduced. Currently, they are being recouped with the power electronics which are applied in various industrial, consumer, transportation, and aerospace applications.
Providing promising characteristics, gallium oxide-made transistors acquire a good characteristic of ultra-wide band gap, which is better for power electronics. This is because an ultra-wide band
gap results in faster switching transient that has lower loss per switching cycle. Moreover, other devices which are also made from beta gallium oxide, like this transistor, have higher breakdown voltage. For a transistor, breakdown voltage means the maximum voltage that a transistor can handle for each of its pins or junctions, therefore more flexibility for higher voltage applications.The research about the beta gallium oxide transistors is published in the IEEE Electronic Device Letters for this month wherein it was claimed that a great portion of the gallium oxide transistor research was performed by graduate students of Hong Zhou.
In relation to this, the team of researchers also discovered a method to remove layers of a single crystal semiconductor. This is with the use of adhesive tape that they used as an alternative and is
much less expensive compared to the laboratory procedure of Epitaxy. Epitaxy is a process of depositing a thin layer of single-crystal material on a single-crystal substrate. A 1cm x 1.5cm piece of beta gallium oxide costs about $6000 when it is produced by Epitaxy. However, with the use of the scotch tape method, thin films can also be cut into belts or nano-membranes in a less expensive approach. These nano-membranes are transferred to a typical silicon disc and will be manufactured as transistors and such. In addition, the produced nano-membranes are extremely smooth, a characteristic that contributes well in the application of electronic devices. With this, electrical current achieved from this experiment is 10 to 100 times greater compared to the ability of other semiconductor materials. However, like other materials, the use of gallium oxide has its own drawback. It has a poor thermal property. Attaching the said material to a substrate of diamond or aluminum though, can help solve this specific problem.