Digital twin for computer-based diameter scaling of GaN-HVPE crystal fabrication

Project runtime: 01.01.2023 – 31.12.2025




A digital twin for GaN crystal fabrication

The classical silicon technology as the basis for today's electronics is increasingly reaching its physical limits. Gallium nitride (GaN crystal) is a new promising semiconductor material, which in perspective may become the new backbone of power electronics. Compared to silicon carbide, GaN has a very wide range of applications and can be used in power electronics as well as in optoelectronics. It additionally enables, for example, the production of light-emitting diodes and solid-state lasers. For the production of energy-saving electronic components such as transistors, which are suitable to operate efficiently in the higher voltage range above 750 V up to approx. 1700 V, but also for high-power solid-state lasers, GaN crystals as perfect as possible (without dislocations in the atomic planes) are required as substrate material. The associated fabrication process, the so-called GaN hydride gas-phase epitaxy (HVPE, for the reactor), is a very complex chemically assisted deposition process from the gas phase. The desired and economically feasible increase in crystal diameter requires both technical modifications to the reactor and adaptation of the numerous process parameters. The development of a digital twin for the HVPE process and the intensive acquisition of material and technical characteristic data, linked via a metamodel, are to replace the classical technical-empirical iteration between process and plant development in the future.

The GaN-Digital project thus pursues a new concept of computer-aided plant and process scaling in semiconductor crystal growth. In GaN-Digital, the partners are working together to scale up processes and equipment faster. The required GaN wafers (thin slices sawn from the finished crystal) with diameters of up to 4 inches are to be made available to the market from German production in the near future. In collaboration with the MaterialDigital platform, the results may also be useful and prospectively transferable to other gas-phase processes for the deposition of solids and for their reactor development.