Gallium nitride

From Academic Kids

Gallium nitride (GaN) is a wide bandgap semiconductor material used in optoelectronic, high-power and high-frequency devices.

Until 1993, the only blue light-emitting devices commercially available were based on silicon carbide, which has an indirect bandgap, and so is not capable of sufficient brightness to be of wide interest.

The development of the first high-brightness GaN light-emitting diode (LED) by Shuji Nakamura, working for the Nichia company in Japan, completed the range of primary colors, and made possible applications such as daylight visible full-color LED displays, white LEDs and blue laser devices. GaN-based blue laser diodes are used in the Blu-ray disc technology, used in devices such as the Sony PlayStation 3.

Potential markets for high-power/high-frequency devices based on GaN include microwave radio-frequency power amplifiers (such as used in high-speed wireless data transmission) and high-voltage switching devices for power grids. A potential mass-market application for GaN-based RF transistors is as the microwave source for microwave ovens, replacing the magnetrons currently used.

GaN, when doped with a suitable transition element such as Manganese, is also a promising spintronics material. See Magnetic semiconductor.

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