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HRL LABORATORIES' breakthrough may pave the way for gallium nitride to supplant silicon in integrated circuits

Researchers at HRL Laboratories, LLC, have achieved the first demonstration of gallium nitride (GaN) complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) field-effect-transistor (FET) technology, and in doing so have established that the semiconductor’s superior transistor performance can be harnessed in an integrated circuit. This breakthrough paves the way for GaN to become the technology of choice for power conversion circuits that are made in silicon today. According to HRL Senior Staff Research Engineer and Principal Investigator Dr. Rongming Chu, GaN transistors have long excelled in both power switching and microwave/millimeter wave applications, but their potential for integrated power conversion has been unrealized. “Unless the fast-switching GaN power transistor is intentionally slowed down in power circuits, chip-to-chip parasitic inductance causes voltage instabilities,” he said.”

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