SUNY Poly Researchers Awarded $1.5M to Develop SiC MOSFETs and AlGaN/GaM HEMTs

July 24, 2019 by Scott McMahan

SUNY Polytechnic Institute reported that Interim Vice President of Research Advancement and Graduate Studies, Dr. Shadi Shahedipour-Sandvik and Associate Professor of Nanoengineering, Dr. Woongje Sung were chosen to receive $1,500,000 in total federal funding.

The funding is from the U.S. Department of Energy's Vehicle Technology Office (VTO) for the development of 1200V silicon carbide MOSFET. Some of the funding will also go towards reliability studies of Aluminum Gallium Nitride-based high electron mobility transistors (HEMT).

Both development efforts could lead to more efficient and reliable power electronics for electric drive trains for applications including improved electric vehicles.

"On behalf of SUNY Poly, I congratulate Dr. Shahedipour-Sandvik and Dr. Sung for this award enabling advanced power electronics research, which can have a significant impact on next-generation applications, including enhancing clean transportation capabilities," said SUNY Poly Interim President Dr. Grace Wang. "I am also excited that a number of undergraduate and graduate students will gain first-hand experience in this research area. In addition, I commend both Drs. Shahedipour-Sandvik and Sung for their additional and separate grants from the National Science Foundation and Office of Naval Research, respectively, which are once again testaments to our innovation-focused faculty who are addressing a number of critical, unmet technological, commercial, and military needs."

Dr. Shadi Shahedipour-Sandvik (above left) and Associate Professor of Nanoengineering, Dr. Woongje Sung (above right)

The SUNY Poly VTO award will support research endeavors through the new "Electric Drive Technologies Consortium," of which SUNY Poly is one of the 10 founding University members. The Electric Drive Technologies Consortium is supported by the Vehicle Technology Office and Department of Energy.

As a result of the grant, a number of SUNY Poly graduate students will get an immersive research experience. Several undergraduate students will also be encouraged to take part in various aspects of the research including the design, fabrication, characterization, and analysis of SiC power devices.

Specifically, the SUNY Poly researchers intend to demonstrate a highly reliable wide bandgap (WBG) aluminum gallium nitride/gallium nitride (AlGaN/GaN) HEMT-based power device. The HEMT will use the AlGaN/GaN semiconductor material's properties to enable higher performance for an HEMT on GaN compared to the state-of-the-art HEMT on other substrates such as sapphire. The device is expected to have extremely high levels of performance at certain frequencies with low noise, making it especially suitable for high-speed, high-frequency applications.

"I am excited to partner on this grant as we leverage SUNY Poly's advanced research capabilities to drive next-generation power device technologies based on cutting-edge materials and processes, and I am grateful to the Department of Energy's Vehicle Technology Office for this award, which will utilize our unique epitaxial growth system and baseline process to fabricate HEMT on GaN," said Dr. Shahedipour-Sandvik. "I am also extremely grateful to the National Science Foundation for the additional grant which will underpin research with our partnering institution into novel materials for more energy efficient lighting and computing capabilities.... "

"We look forward to these exciting research opportunities not only because of what they can lead to, but also because they will provide an excellent hands-on lab experience which can act as a launching pad for a number of our SUNY Poly graduate and undergraduate students," Dr. Shahedipour-Sandvik concluded.

"I would like to thank the VTO/DoE for recognizing our power electronics research in which we will design the device and process flow before evaluating the performance and reliability of the silicon carbide (SiC) devices at SUNY Poly's state-of-the-art facilities," said Dr. Sung. "In addition to this project serving as an excellent educational opportunity for SUNY Poly students, I am also honored to have received a separate grant from the Office of Naval Research and look forward to working with our partners to develop high-voltage SiC power devices for a number of critical defense and commercial applications."

Other Grant Awards

In addition to the DOE funding, Dr. Shahedipour-Sandvik recently received a separate $255,000 award from the National Science Foundation to research novel efficient p-type nitride materials that are used to create more energy-efficient semiconductors for advanced solid-state lighting and computing capabilities. Under this grant, this research will form the basis of a graduate student's thesis research as well as the capstone research of an undergraduate student. It will be conducted in collaboration with Virginia Commonwealth University.

Dr. Sung also received another separate $250,000 research award from the Office of Naval Research for the development of high voltage (12kV) power devices on SiC, in collaboration with The Ohio State University, the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, and CoolCAD Electronics, LLC. These 12kV SiC devices could address several U.S. Navy needs, such as for medium Voltage distribution on more electric ships, as well as providing direct power for crucial applications during a mission and the degaussing of ships, solid-state transformers, and rail guns, for example. This research could also lead to commercial applications such as variable speed drives for megawatt-class electric motors, 13.8 kV distribution grid equipment, the incorporation of renewables on the distribution grid, and high-voltage dc (HVDC) transmission, among others.

Dr. Sung's research team will design the device and process flow. Then, once the fabrication process is complete, they will evaluate the performance and reliability of the SiC devices at SUNY Poly's Albany campus. At this location, SUNY Poly graduate and undergraduate students will be able to participate in their design, fabrication, characterization, and analysis.