Over the next 15 years, the total energy consumption is projected to increase by 25 – 35 % due to the elevation of a few billion people from poverty into the middle class, and the increasing world economic output. For instance, the explosion of digital content such as e-commerce, social media and big data is making data centres one of the fastest-growing consumers of electricity in developed countries. Energy efficiency is one of the most important components of any strategy to deliver affordable and reliable energy systems.
Power electronics is the key technology to control the flow of electrical energy between source and load for a wide variety of applications from the GWs in energy transmission lines to the mWs in mobile phones. Wide band gap semiconductors such as GaN use their capability to operate at higher voltages, temperatures, and switching frequencies with greater efficiencies compared to their silicon counterparts, thereby allowing for higher energy efficiency. Therefore the development of novel low cost and reliable GaN-based materials, processes and systems are needed to enable significant energy reduction in a wide range of energy intensive applications.
Acknowledging these challenges, in 2016 the EU launched NMBP-02-2016: “Advanced Materials for Power Electronics based on wide bandgap semiconductor devices technology” call for action, as part of the Horizon 2020 program. The aim of the call is to improve the energy efficiency, increase the energy savings and succeed CO2 reduction on the high strategic importance sector in Europe of power electronic components, modules and systems including wide bandgap devices technology.
The GaNonCMOS project aims to bring GaN power electronic materials, devices and systems to the next level of maturity by providing the most densely integrated materials to date. This development will drive a new generation of densely integrated power electronics and pave the way towards low cost, highly reliable systems for energy intensive applications. This will be realized by integrating GaN power switches with CMOS drivers densely together using different integration schemes from the package level up to the chip level including wafer bonding between GaN on Si(111) and CMOS on Si (100) wafers.
The GaNonCMOS research and innovation project addresses the objectives of the H2020-02-2016 call topic.