4 August 2022
Agnitron installs Agilis 100 gallium oxide MOCVD system at Cornell
Agnitron Technology Inc of Chanhassen, MN, USA says that a Agilis 100 metal-organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) system installed in the Duffield Hall laboratory of Dr Hari Nair, assistant research professor of materials science & engineering, at Cornell University began operation on 30 June.
The firm says that the Agilis 100 delivers what are claimed to be multiple, best-in-class capabilities that support R&D of oxide semiconductors. The system can reach substrate temperatures exceeding 1500°C (2700°F) and keep it within +/-1.0°C, and it has the ability to grow epitaxial semiconductor layers at unmatched purities and rates.
Nair has partnered with Agnitron to customize a system to enable the exploration of ultrawide-bandgap semiconductor materials. Specifically calibrated to create thin films of gallium oxide (Ga2O3), the system has since the demonstrated high-quality growth.
“A key advantage of gallium oxide is the ability to grow single crystals of this material from its molten form, which will be key for scaling up the substrate size,” Nair says. “This capability to scaling up is very important for industry adoption of electronic devices made using new semiconductor materials,” he adds.
“With this system, we can grow thin films on up to 2-inch-diameter substrates under widely tunable oxidation chemical potentials,” says Nair. “It also has a very high substrate temperature capability and we can heat the substrate up to 1500°C. High substrate temperatures yield better quality films which is key for pushing the performance of electronic devices,” he adds.
“The wide bandgap offered by gallium oxide is great, but if you cannot grow this on large-area substrates, then it’s a showstopper from a practical point of view,” Nair says. “There’s a big promise gallium oxide has to offer, but we’re not there yet.”
Nair’s partnership with Agnitron will continue. He plans to collaborate with researchers from the AFRL-Cornell Center for Epitaxial Solutions and elsewhere on campus to optimize MOCVD for gallium oxide, which would make the material more economically attractive to manufacturers looking for high-precision, high-volume production.
The materials developed at Duffield Hall will enable the next-generation technologies needed for high-power electronic systems, it is reckoned. Potential uses include electric vehicles, renewable energy solutions, and next-generation cellular communications.
“There is a need to make power electronics more compact and more efficient,” Nair says. “One of the dreams is to take a power substation, which is about the size of a small house, and shrink it down to the size of a suitcase. Such innovations will be key for creating a smart power grid, and gallium oxide semiconductor-based power electronics is a stepping stone in making this possible.”