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SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Gallium Nitride could replace silicon in electronics

Gallium Nitride could replace silicon in electronics
The Siliconreview
13 Febuary, 2019

Silicon has been the heart and soul of the modern electronics industry. It was the magic material that paved the way for electronic devices to be made smaller and exponentially more powerful. The electronics industry has come a long way since the advent of silicon chips. However, all researchers concur that the industry is rapidly approaching the theoretical limit on how much the chips can be improved. But now a new material called Gallium Nitride (GaN) has the potential to replace silicon as the heart of electronic chips.

Gallium Nitride can sustain higher voltages than silicon and the current can flow faster through it. Moreover, the energy loss is significantly less in GaN, making it a lot more efficient. In other words, manufacturers can pack more of GaN in a given area, resulting in smaller devices that are considerably more energy efficient. According to subject matter experts, replacing all current electronics with those made of GaN would reduce energy consumption by about 15 to 20 percent.

To add to the pot, GaN can withstand higher temperatures, allowing designers as well as manufacturers greater freedom in design and production. Such devices could have a number of applications in factories and assembly plants.

However, we won’t be seeing devices made of GaN chips anytime soon, as the infrastructure for production, distribution and sale of silicon chips have been set up and running for decades. Replacing all of that would require several years, not to mention billions of dollars in investment.