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Oxide combo could boost power semi performance

Engineers from the University of Utah and the University of Minnesota have discovered that when strontium titanate (STO) and neodymium titanate (NTO) interact with each other, the amount of electrons produced is 100 times larger than what is possible in semiconductors. And, according to University of Utah researcher Berardi Sensale-Rodriguez, pictured, the resulting material is ‘about five times more conductive than silicon’.

The development could improve power transistor performance, in turn creating more efficient power supplies for a range of applications.

“When I look at the future, I see that we can perhaps improve conductivity by an order of magnitude through optimising of the materials growth,” said University of Minnesota researcher Bharat Jalan. “We are bringing the possibility of high power, low energy oxide electronics closer to reality.”

Power transistors that use this combination of materials could lead to smaller devices and appliances because their power supplies would be more energy efficient and therefore run cooler.

“It’s fundamentally a different road toward power electronics,” said Sensale-Rodriguez, “and the results are very exciting. But we still need to do more research.”

Graham Pitcher

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