There appears to be a recent technology breakthrough by scientists from the University of Bristol with the capacity of shaping the communication technology niche. A method which allows faster communication systems and better energy-saving electronics was initiated as part of an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) project.
The first of its kind, this discovery prioritizes about knowing how to measure an electric field found in a semiconductor.
What a Semiconductor is
A semi-conductor can be any material, which aids the control of electric current in electronic devices .A typical Example is a Silicon, which can be used in electronic devices to control electric current.
In a case study mid this year, researchers who major in Nature Electronics came up with a road map on how to accurately quantify electric field. To further explain this in a layman’s language, in the nearest future, most power and radio frequency electronic devices manufactured for consumer usage have a very high ability to work faster, with safe energy and also operate efficiently.
At first, for the processing and manufacturing of semiconductors, manufacturers test run to ensure its working properly using different test practical’s which eventually will act as a road map for its application in the real world.
This tests leads to the emergence of materials which are often times accurate and tend to work effectively.
Prof Martin Kuball, one of the researchers, from the University of Bristol’s School of Physics said whilst the research was ongoing:
“Semiconductors can be made to conduct positive or negative charges and can therefore be designed to modulate and manipulate current. However, these semiconductor devices do not stop with Silicon, there are many others including Gallium Nitride (used in blue LEDs for example). These semiconductor devices, which for instance convert an AC current from a power line into a DC current, result in a loss of energy as waste heat — look at your laptop for example, the power brick is getting warm or even hot. If we could improve efficiency and reduce this waste heat, we will save energy.
“One applies a voltage to an electronic device, and as a result there is an output current used in the application. Inside this electronic device is an electric field which determines how this device works and how long it will be operational and how good its operation is. No one could actually measure this electric field, so fundamental to the device operation. One always relied on simulation which is hard to trust unless you can actually test its accuracy.
He further explained:
“Considering that these devices are operated at higher voltages, this also means electric fields in the devices are higher and this, in turn, means they can fail easier. The new technique we have developed enables us to quantify electric fields within the devices, allowing accurate calibration of the device simulations that in turn design the electronic devices so the electric fields do not exceed critical limits and fail.”
In recent times, there had always been a problem of materials used for semiconductors not surpassing its usage expectancy, paving way for early expiration and spoilage. This hereby makes researchers to source for and ensure they come up with materials that will work at its uppermost value. New materials like Gallium Nitride and Gallium Oxide performs better than Silicon because it paves way for an operational higher frequency at higher voltages, respectively, leading to reduction in energy loss.
This new discovery by these scientists will ensure the usage of good semiconductor materials that will appropriately measure electric field. It will also ensure efficient power electronics in all applications. Applications like solar or wind turbine stations transmitting into the national grid, electric cars, trains, and planes.
In a nutshell, if this is achievable, the society no longer needs much energy usage.
Also, the team will work with partners within the $12M US Department of Energy (DOE) ULTRA key industrial stakeholders to aid the progression of its device technology. The technique to further bring and showcase ultra-wide band gap device technology into limelight paving way for reduction in excess of energy by 10% across the worldwide.
“This development helps the UK and the world to develop energy-saving semiconductor devices, which is a step towards a carbon-neutral society,” Prof Martin Kuball concluded.