Avogy Gets Multiple DOE Awards to Develop Vertical GaN Transistors

November 03, 2013 by Jeff Shepard

U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA–E) recognized the potential value of Avogy Inc.'s power semiconductor technology by awarding them several million dollars to develop highly-efficient low-cost vertical gallium-nitride (GaN) transistors. Avogy has been awarded $1.7M under ARPA-E's SWITCHES program to develop vertical GaN transistors that can operate at very high power while being an order of magnitude smaller than the best-in-class silicon transistors. The company was also selected as a subcontractor within another ARPA-E award granted to Kyma Technologies who will develop a cost-effective technique to manufacture high-quality GaN substrates. Avogy will design its vertical GaN transistors on Kyma's substrates.

In addition, Avogy is partnering with Soraa Corp. which was previously awarded $4.7 million from ARPA-E to develop ammonothermal bulk GaN substrates. Avogy is evaluating the new Soraa substrates for power electronics applications. Avogy's vertical GaN transistors are built on high-quality GaN substrates and take full advantage of the intrinsic capabilities of the material. Avogy's transistors are intended to replace conventional silicon transistors in the energy generation and consumption infrastructure. They are expected to enable system manufacturers to achieve significant reduction in power consumption, size, weight, and cost while improving the reliability of data center servers, switches and routers, solar and wind inverters, electrical and hybrid vehicles, and any other power conversion and generation equipment.

"We believe that Avogy's vertical GaN transistors could achieve functional cost parity with current technologies within three years while offering significant performance improvements," said ARPA-E Program Director, Tim Heidel. "If successful, Avogy's transistors will enable smaller, more reliable, energy-efficient, and cost-effective high-power converters, electrical motor drives, and photovoltaic and wind inverters."

"We are delighted that ARPA-E has decided to fund our projects," said Dr. Isik C. Kizilyalli, CTO and Principal Investigator for Avogy. "ARPA-E recognition and financial support are critically important for successful development and deployment of our transformational technology."

"Avogy's patented vertical GaN transistor architecture and manufacturing technology allow us to leapfrog others who've been trying to develop lateral GaN transistors for several years," said Dr. Dinesh Ramanathan, CEO of Avogy. "The support from the U.S. Department of Energy will help to accelerate the commercialization of our highly efficient products and extend the U.S. lead in the world's-best energy technologies."