Allison Lemus

Allison  Lemus
MIT EECS Texas Instruments Undergraduate Research and Innovation Scholar
Advisor: Jesus A. del Alamo
Department: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Areas of Research: Devices
Years: 2016-2017

Reliability of High-Voltage GaN

GaN is a new material that shows much higher switching speed at high voltage than Si. For this reason GaN is being developed for switching regulators for AC/DC converters such as wall-plug adaptors and for many other power management applications from electric vehicles to smart grids. Compared to Si GaN offers the potential of higher efficiency and smaller size. However the reliability physics of GaN is different in many ways from that of Si. This project aims to understand an aspect of reliability physics known as dielectric reliability. The focus in particular will be to examine time-dependent dielectric breakdown (TDDB) in GaN.

I began this project last fall and it was my first exposure to device physics. It's fascinating to connect a failure in a device to the internal changes it's gone through! Data that at first seemed random suddenly becomes expected and with each connection you learn more about how GaN behaves. I hope to discover more of the nuances in these devices and am excited to find what is physically happening to cause them.