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Two new projects target GaAs imaging and GaN power

The two ventures will look at developing gallium arsenide imaging and sensing and gallium nitride-on-silicon power devices

A couple of new projects which centre on the use compound semiconductors are to be funded through the Technology Inspired Innovation competition for collaborative research & development funding. They are described below.

Project title: System development of novel CW OPO for hyperspectral imaging and sensing

Project outline: SYNOPOSIS will develop an active, long-wave mid-infrared (LWIR) imaging system capable of catering for a wide range of applications including the detection of explosives, oil and gas prospecting and medical diagnostics.

To date, active imaging systems operate mostly in the short-wave mid-infrared spectral region. Moving the technology to longer wavelength will enable access to the so-called molecular fingerprint region where the interaction with light and molecules is significantly stronger, therefore enabling higher sensitivity and specificity.

The limiting factor in the context of LWIR active imaging technology has so far been the availability of practical LWIR light sources. SYNOPOSIS will address this issue by advancing the continuous-wave, intracavity-pumped, optical parametric oscillator into the LWIR by employing novel nonlinear materials such as orientation-patterned gallium arsenide and zinc germanium diphosphide.

Partners in the project are M Squared Lasers Ltd , based in Glasgow, who will lead the project. Other collaborators include Solus Technologies Ltd and the Institute of Photonics based in the University of Strathclyde.

Project title: PEARGaN - Power Electronics Applications for Reliability in GaN

Project outline: GaN-on-Silicon is a hot topic at the moment. One of its applications is in discrete devices for high-voltage power electronics applications, with the potential to deliver superior performance in breakdown voltage, on-state resistance and higher switching speeds. This material system also promises to reduce system losses and enable greater levels of efficiency at lower cost than current solutions.

The PEARGaN project has assembled a consortium of world class partners from UK industry and academia, to develop new system level concepts and circuit architectures, evaluate advanced manufacturing process technologies and create device demonstrators to fully understand the device behaviour and failure mechanisms, proving that these devices are robust and can deliver the required levels of life-time reliability that is demanded by the early adopters in a broad range of power management and control applications.

The lead partner is NXP Semiconductors UK Ltd based in Stockport. Also involved in the project are IQE (Europe) Ltd, Bristol University – Device Reliability Centre, Manchester University – Power Conversion Group and Liverpool University – Materials & Structures Centre.

The offer of funding to these projects is conditional and remains subject to the successful completion of Technology Strategy Board, Scottish Enterprise and BBSRC compliance and financial review processes.
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