Researchers from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have modeled the wafer cost of gallium oxide (Ga2O3) semiconductors, and determined the cost could be three times lower than that of silicon carbide (SiC). The finding could lead to lower costs for power electronics such as those used in EVs.
The researchers created a bottom-up cost model around a manufacturing process flow for Ga2O3 wafers, including crucible charging, crystal growth, ingot machining, wafer processing, and epitaxial growth. They estimated that the lower manufacturing cost of Ga2O3 wafers compared to SiC could lead to a 2x reduction in the cost of power electronic devices.
“An emerging alternative WBG [wide bandgap] power electronic technology based on gallium oxide has the potential to [provide] lower cost and higher performance compared to established WBG semiconductors,” stated the team’s paper, “How Much Will Gallium Oxide Power Electronics Cost?” which was published in the journal Joule.