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/Job opportunities/Study and Realization of GaN HEMT based Monolithic Bidirectional Switch

Study and Realization of GaN HEMT based Monolithic Bidirectional Switch

PhD - Leuven | More than two weeks ago

Explore the full potential of IMEC GaN technology to realize a monolithically integrated high-power BDS.

The superior material properties of GaN compared to Si for power applications have yielded power devices such as the GaN HEMT that are now in the market. The GaN HEMTs enable faster switching combined with low ON-resistance and are becoming a serious competitor for Si-based power devices. GaN HEMT based bidirectional switch (BDS) can be a valuable alternative of the RB-IGBT (Reverse blocking IGBT) based BDS due to its low losses and high switching speed operation, which in-turn helps to build a compact, efficient system. The objective of this PhD is to study different possibilities of BDS topologies and to explore the full potential of GaN technology to realize a monolithically integrated high-power BDS.

A bidirectional switch is an essential component of a matrix converter for an efficient AC-to-AC power conversion without using a DC link in-between. A BDS, capable to conduct current and block voltage in both polarities is conventionally made by connecting discrete IGBTs and diodes either back-to-back or in antiparallel way. Consequently, the matrix converter with discrete components makes the system less efficient, large, and complicated due to the usage of numerous power devices and its drivers. Yet, a high-power on-chip bidirectional switch that offers a high blocking voltage with current-handling capability is not available to date. As a potential solution, GaN bidirectional power switches with a high blocking voltage can be made by using GANIC technology. GaN devices enable high frequency operation and integration helps to achieve a compact circuit with less components that reduces the overall power loss, the parasitic and complexity of the circuit. The candidate will be expected to study and optimize the different topologies of BDS to be used in GaN technology. The student will explore the full potential of GANIC technology and realize a monolithic bidirectional power switch. Furthermore, the gate driving procedure is quite challenging because two identical or non-identical isolated gate signals need to be provided depending on the switch topology. Therefore, the study needs to be extended to design a suitable integrated driving circuit for the BDS. Overall, the student will be expected to gain a deep fundamental understanding of the device development, GaN technology and integrated circuit design.

This research gives an opportunity to have an in-depth understanding of device design, circuit design and a prototyping activity. It also includes the study of the interaction between processing technology and device operation.

Typical techniques and tools which the candidate will need to apply during the PhD, will be on-wafer electrical characterization through I-V measurements, and prototype level measurement. The main simulation tool will be cadence spice simulation and Technology CAD.


Required background: Electronics or Electrical engineering; Microelectronics. Combination of semiconductor device knowledge with integrated circuit design is preferred.


Type of work: Literature (10%), Design (30%), Technology (30%), Electrical characterization and physical understanding (30%)

Supervisor: Benoit Bakeroot

Daily advisor: Urmimala Chatterjee

The reference code for this position is 2021-131. Mention this reference code on your application form.