Diamond power devices: state of the art, modelling, figures of merit and future perspective

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Abstract: With its remarkable electro-thermal properties such as the highest known thermal conductivity (~22 W cm−1∙K−1 at RT of any material, high hole mobility (>2000 cm2 V−1 s−1), high critical electric field (>10 MV cm−1), and large band gap (5.47 eV), diamond has overwhelming advantages over silicon and other wide bandgap semiconductors (WBGs) for ultra-high-voltage and high-temperature (HT) applications (>3 kV and >450 K, respectively). However, despite their tremendous potential, fabricated devices based on this material have not yet delivered the expected high performance. The main reason behind this is the absence of shallow donor and acceptor species. The second reason is the lack of consistent physical models and design approaches specific to diamond-based devices that could significantly accelerate their development. The third reason is that the best performances of diamond devices are expected only when the highest electric field in reverse bias can be achieved, something that has not been widely obtained yet. In this context, HT operation and unique device structures based on the two-dimensional hole gas (2DHG) formation represent two alternatives that could alleviate the issue of the incomplete ionization of dopant species. Nevertheless, ultra-HT operations and device parallelization could result in severe thermal management issues and affect the overall stability and long-term reliability. In addition, problems connected to the reproducibility and long-term stability of 2DHG-based devices still need to be resolved. This review paper aims at addressing these issues by providing the power device research community with a detailed set of physical models, device designs and challenges associated with all the aspects of the diamond power device value chain, from the definition of figures of merit, the material growth and processing conditions, to packaging solutions and targeted applications. Finally, the paper will conclude with suggestions on how to design power converters with diamond devices and will provide the roadmap of diamond device development for power electronics.

Topical Review, diamond, power devices, wide bandgap semiconductors, figures of merit, power converters, packaging, modelling
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Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics
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IOP Publishing
French ANR Research Agency (grant ANR-16-CE05-0023)
European Community's Horizon 2020 Programme (H2020/2014–2020) (640947)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/M506485/1)