The Indian Institute of Science (IISc) has developed a power switch that can significantly shorten the charging time of electric vehicles. This ground-breaking technology, developed at IISc's Centre for Nano Science and Engineering (CeNSE), holds enormous promise for revolutionizing the EV industry and ancillary domains such as laptop power converters and wireless communications.
Due to its exceptional performance and efficiency, the gallium nitride-based power switch is expected to replace traditional silicon-based transistors as fundamental components in many electronic devices. Ultrafast chargers for electric vehicles, smartphones, and laptops are among them, as are critical applications in space and the military, such as radar systems.
The Centre developed the entire process of building the switch from material growth to device fabrication to packaging in-house.
“It is a very promising and disruptive technology. But the material and devices are heavily import-restricted. We don’t have gallium nitride wafer production capability at a commercial scale in India yet. The know-how of manufacturing these devices is also a heavily guarded secret, with few studies published on the processes involved.
Strategic organizations in India are having difficulty obtaining GaN transistors. Importing them in excess of a certain quantity or power/frequency rating is impossible. "This is essentially a demonstration of indigenous GaN technology development," said Digbijoy Nath, Associate Professor at CeNSE and the study's corresponding author.
Power switches regulate the flow of electricity to turn on or off electronic devices. The IISc team designed the GaN power switch using a metal-organic chemical vapour deposition technique developed and optimized over a decade by lab researchers.
“The packaging of the device was also indigenously developed. After packaging and testing, we found the device performance to be comparable to state-of-the-art switches available commercially, with a switching time of about 50 nanoseconds between on and off operations,” explained Rijo Baby, a Ph.D. student at CeNSE and first author of the study.
The researchers intend to reduce the device's dimensions to operate at high currents. They also plan to create a power converter to increase or decrease voltage.