Repository logo

Gallium nitride high electron mobility transistors in chip scale packaging: evaluation of performance in radio frequency power amplifiers and thermomechanical reliability characterization




Shover, Michael Andrew, author
Collins, George, advisor
Chandrasekar, Venkatachalam, committee member
Chen, Thomas, committee member
Ackerson, Chris, committee member

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Wide bandgap semiconductors such as Gallium Nitride (GaN) have many advantages over their Si counterparts, such as a higher energy bandgap, critical electric field, and saturated electron drift velocity. These parameters translate into devices which operate at higher frequency, voltage, and efficiency than comparable Si devices, and have been utilized in varying degrees for power amplification purposes at >1 MHz for years. Previously, these devices required costly substrates such as sapphire (Al2O3), limiting applications to little more than aerospace and military. Furthermore, the typical breakdown voltage ratings of these parts have historically been below ~200 V, with many targeted as replacements for 50 V Si LDMOS as used in cellular infrastructure and industrial, scientific, and medical (ISM) applications between 1 MHz and 1 GHz. Fortunately within the past five years, devices have become commercially available with attractive key specifications: GaN on Si subtrates, with breakdown voltages of over 600 V, realized in cost effective chip scale packages, and with inherently low parasitic capacitances and inductances. In this work, two types of inexpensive commercially available AlGaN/GaN high electron mobility transistors (HEMTs) in chip scale packages are evaluated in a set of three interconnected experiments. The first explores the feasibility of creating a radio frequency power amplifier for use in the ISM bands of 2 MHz and 13.56 MHz, at power levels of up to 1 kW, using a Class E topology. Experiments confirm that a DC to RF efficiency of 94% is easily achievable using these devices. The second group of experiments considers both the steady state and transient thermal characterization of the HEMTs when installed in a typical industrial application. It is shown that both types of devices have acceptable steady state thermal resistance performance; approximately 5.27 °C/W and 0.93 °C/W are achievable for the source pad (bottom) cooled and top thermal pad cooled device types, respectively. Transient thermal behavior was found to exceed industry recommended maximum dT/dt by over 80x for the bottom cooled devices; a factor of 20x was noted with the top cooled devices. Extrapolations using the lumped capacitance method for transient conduction support even higher initial channel dT/dt rates. Although this rate of change decays to recommended levels within one second, it was hypothesized that the accumulated mechanical strain on the HEMTs would cause early life failures if left uncontrolled. The third set of experiments uses the thermal data to design a set of experiments with the goal of quantifying the cycles to failure under power cycling. It is confirmed that to achieve a high number of thermal cycles to failure as required in high reliability industrial systems, the devices under test require significant thermal parameter derating to levels on the order of 50%.


Rights Access



Associated Publications