Gallium nitride lasers integrated on silicon?

Oct. 4, 2010
Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed the means to integrate gallium nitride sensors and devices directly into silicon-based computer chips without any buffer layers.

Raleigh, NC--Researchers from North Carolina State University (NC State) have developed the means to integrate gallium nitride (GaN) sensors and devices directly into silicon (Si)-based computer chips without any buffer layers. While the main thrust of the project is to develop higher-power transistors, GaN lasers fabricated directly on Si are also possible.

"This enables the development of high-power (high-voltage and high-current) devices that are critical for the development of energy-distribution devices such as smart-grid technology and high-frequency military communications," says Jay Narayan, a professor of materials science and engineering at NC State and co-holder of a patent on the technology.

Direct integration of devices based on different types of semiconductors onto Si chips is of considerable interest because it can enable different functionalities such as lasers, notes Pradeep Fulay of the National Science Foundation (NSF), which funded the GaN research at NC State. (Imec in Leuven, Belgium has also announced a program to work on GaN/Si integration.)

The research was done by Narayan and former NC State Ph.D. student Thomas Rawdanowicz and published in Applied Physics Letters and U.S. Patent Granted (20050124161). NSF is currently funding additional research in this area by Narayan.

A U.S.-based corporation is already in the process of licensing the technology.

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About the Author

John Wallace | Senior Technical Editor (1998-2022)

John Wallace was with Laser Focus World for nearly 25 years, retiring in late June 2022. He obtained a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and physics at Rutgers University and a master's in optical engineering at the University of Rochester. Before becoming an editor, John worked as an engineer at RCA, Exxon, Eastman Kodak, and GCA Corporation.

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