Silicon has long been the standard material for semiconductor devices. Power transistors, which are individual semiconductor switches that regulate the flow of electrical power, have traditionally been made with silicon, while more advanced modern transistors are made of silicon carbide or gallium nitride.
Trevor Thornton, a professor of electrical engineering in the School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering, part of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University, is leading a team researching the use of two new transistor materials: diamond and boron nitride.
Thornton’s team is conducting their research through ASU’s Advanced Materials, Processes, and Energy Devices Science and Technology Center, or AMPED STC. AMPED’s goal is to develop materials and technologies with industry partners to support the mission of Arizona’s New Economy Initiative.
The New Economy Initiative aims to improve Arizona’s competitiveness in developing advanced technology. AMPED specifically looks to develop technologies and materials used in the construction of batteries, solar electricity generation and power electronics, which convert electricity to a needed form when it’s moved through transmission channels.