Thermal Transport in Ultrawide-Bandgap Semiconductors
Ultrawide-bandgap (UWBG) semiconductors can operate at significantly greater power densities and higher frequencies than their narrower-bandgap cousins, making UWBG materials strong candidates for alternative energy, transportation, and military applications. Adverse temperature increases in UWBG systems can lower their efficiency and reliability, however, and may even lead to performance failures. Understanding thermal transport in UWBG materials—that is, how they conduct and dissipate heat—is imperative for designing effective heat dissipation pathways and predicting local temperature increases to manage thermal stress.
Zhiting Tian, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, is investigating thermal transport in UWBG semiconductors using a combination of ab initio modeling and optical experiments. To encompass considerations of real-world conditions, this project will include investigations of UWBG materials that have interface and point defects and that are operating in a high electric field. Researchers will carry out laser- and synchrotron-based measurements of thermal phonon transport under an electrical field, as well as density functional theory calculations and nonequilibrium Green’s function calculations, taking into account non-equilibrium transport.
This project will contribute essential knowledge for the design of more efficient and power-dense electronics with optimal thermal transport properties, including sufficient heat dissipation and minimal thermal stress. The results will support development of improved UWBG transistors and will allow for advanced power electronics in American ships, aircraft, and military bases, contributing to United States national security and leading to increased and sustained performance capabilities for the United States Armed Forces.