Metrology in manufacturing compound semiconductors for power electronics

Short Name: PowerElec, Project Number: 20IND09
Silicon wafer in production
Silicon wafer production line

Developing the instrumentation required to support the industrial uptake of new, more energy efficient, materials.

Europe’s Green Deal aims for climate neutrality by 2050 . The implementation of semiconductors based on ‘wide bandgap ’ compounds such as Gallium nitride, Silicon Carbide and Gallium Oxide into power electronics have the potential to make lighting 75% more efficient, motor-driven appliances 40% more efficient, and consumer electronics up to 30% more efficient. However, material performance is highly sensitive to nanoscale defects. Present optical techniques do not have the resolution in the required range (<100 nanometres) to detect flaws and more sensitive techniques have not been applied to these materials. To encourage industrial uptake requires new instrumentation, along with in-line and off-line characterisation techniques, to establish how specific defects impact on device performance.


This project will use optical scatterometric, spectroscopic and signal processing techniques to allow rapid (< 1 minute), accurate and non-destructive, in-line detection of nanoscale (< 100 nm) defects in industrially relevant compound semiconductor wafers and dies. Advanced off-line microscopy methods will be developed to characterise semiconductors in the 5 nanometre to 10 micrometre range with a spatial resolution better than 50 nanometres.

Key measurements that determine the quality of compound semiconductors will be identified and the effects of different types of defects on a materials’ optoelectronic properties and on the performance of a range of power electronic devices investigated.

Project results will aid the competitiveness of the semi-conductor industry and improve the reliability and performance of devices in all areas using wide-band materials, such as electric vehicles, 5G networks and electricity ‘smart’ grids, ultimately supporting Europe’s transition to a green economy.


Project website
Other Participants
AIXTRON SE (Germany)
Commissariat à l'énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives (France)
Compound Semiconductor Centre Limited (United Kingdom)
Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V. (Germany)
Infineon Technologies Austria AG (Austria)
Technische Universitaet Wien (Austria)
Technische Universiteit Delft (Netherlands)