Gallium oxide is a remarkable wide-bandgap semiconductor material. Put simply, that means it could potentially be used to create electronic devices that can operate under extreme conditions â€“ such as when exposed to high heat and high doses of radiation. But before it can find widespread use, we need to know more about it.
â€œTo make the best use of this material, we need to understand atomic-level defects in its crystalline structure,â€� says Ge Yang, an assistant professor of nuclear engineering at NC State.
And thatâ€™s exactly what Yang and his collaborators have done. In a recent paper, â€œLow temperature cathodoluminescence study of Fe-doped Î²-Ga2O3,â€� published in Materials Letters, the researchers were able to identify a range of defects that can be found in the material.
â€œOnce you know what defects are present in a material, you can figure out how those defects affect the materialâ€™s electronic properties â€“ which weâ€™re working on now,â€� Yang says. â€œWe can then find ways to either induce or reduce these defects, depending on which properties are desirable for a specific application. Weâ€™re working on that as well.â€�
First author of the paper is Ibrahim Hany, a Ph.D. student at NC State; Yang is corresponding author of the paper. The paper is co-authored by Chuanzhen Elaine Zhou, an R&D manager in NC Stateâ€™s Analytical Instrumentation Facility; Cheng Sun, a senior staff scientist at the Idaho National Laboratory; Kenan Gundogdu, professor of physics at NC State; Dovletgeldi Seyitliyev, and Eric Vetter, graduate students at NC State; Felix Castellano, Goodnight Innovation Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at NC State; Dali Sun, assistant professor of physics at NC State; and Evgeny Danilov, a lab director in NC Stateâ€™s Department of Chemistry.
The work was done with support from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Laboratory Directed Research & Development Program under DOE Idaho Operations Office Contract DEAC07-05ID14517.