Power Electronics

HexaTech Receives $2.2 Million Contract from ARPA-E to Develop New Power Semiconductor Technology for Modernization of the Electrical Grid

HexaTech has received a $2.2 M award from the U.S. Department of Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency Energy (ARPA-E) that will enable the development of a new power semiconductor technology for the modernization of our electrical power grid. HexaTech's high-quality Aluminum Nitride (AlN) technology was identified by the Department of Energy as a transformational, breakthrough technology with significant technical promise.

Using very low dislocation density single crystal AlN substrates, HexaTech will develop novel doping schemes and contact metals for AlN/AlGaN with high Al content. Dr. Baxter Moody, Director of Engineering, said, "This contract marks the beginning of a technological leap in device performance and efficiency for power semiconductors. The development will enable a significant step toward producing 20 kV AlN-based Schottky diodes (SBD, JBSD) and transistors (JFET, MOSFET). The ARPA-E contract has opened the door for the material development and research to demonstrate AlN high-voltage, high-efficiency power conversion capability." For power systems and grid-scale power conversion applications, high efficiency AlN-based power devices will offer a significant reduction in size, weight, and cooling.

Power semiconductor devices at this level are not currently available on the market. Experimental devices based on Silicon Carbide (SiC) technology are currently being developed. Compared to SiC technology, it is expected that Aluminum Nitride will enable power electronics with a 10X improvement in performance. Based on the wide bandgap material properties of AlN, the critical field is 6X larger, the on resistance will be lower, and the resulting power device area will be smaller for a comparable power level. This is a transformational technology that will revolutionize the power distribution grid.

HexaTech is an industry-leading manufacturer of single crystal Aluminum Nitride (AlN) substrates. This substrate material will enable long life UV-C light emitting diodes (LEDs) for disinfection applications, deep UV lasers for biological threat detection, and high voltage power semiconductors for smart grid and efficient power conversion.

HexaTech's current product lines include single crystal and polycrystalline AlN substrates. Long life UV-C LEDs and high voltage power devices based on AlN substrates are also in development.

Founded in 2001 with a team of industry experts in III-nitride semiconductors, the company has successfully solved complex material science and engineering challenges to commercialize high quality bulk AlN for volume production.

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