Transistor model sets the standard

Dr Sourabh Khandelwal from the Department of Engineering has developed a model for a GaN (gallium nitride) transistor that has been adopted as an international standard.

Silicon transistors are a critical part of modern electronics. There’s a few million of them in your smartphone alone, but owing to their fundamental material limitations they’re extremely inefficient for emerging applications.

GaN transistors are emerging as a go-to technology for use in future applications like 5G communications, sensing electronics in autonomous cars, and compact converters for renewable energy. They’re more efficient than silicon, meaning they’ll use less power and can also be made smaller than silicon transistors.

But it’s been difficult to model the complex behaviour of GaN transistors until now. Sourabh’s model has been developed from fundamental physics and will allow design engineers to carefully tune the behaviour of their circuits before they start fabrication.

“It is very exciting, as well as deeply satisfying, for my model to be accepted as an international standard,” says Sourabh, “as now the whole world of electronics engineers will be designing their products using it.”

An international industry consortium is already funding Sourabh’s research, and he expects that the acceptance of his model will lead to many more research collaborations with industry, research centres and universities.

Banner image credit: Macquarie University