Power semiconductor devices are now recognized as a critical component of America’s growing energy infrastructure. Converting and controlling electrical energy is the role of these devices from the point of generation (whether wind, sun, geothermal, nuclear or fossil-fueled) through cell phones, electric cars, locomotives and ship propulsion to the smallest of household electronics. The performance and efficiency of silicon, though, suffers at high power levels and temperature with up to a 15% loss of efficiency.
Innovative new semiconductor materials, such as diamond, promise to improve the performance and efficiency of next-generation power electronics. Diamond-based devices are faster, lighter and simpler while handling increased power density. Space and defense systems already make use of these volume and weight benefits while automakers, data centers and personal electronics designers are anticipating the additional benefits of high temperature, more efficient operation