Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies - NMP - InRel-NPower


The way in which electric energy is used has great impact on the economy, the environment and society. However, a major part of the produced electricity is lost in electric power conversion. To reduce such losses we must create electronic devices that use new materials with higher efficiency. The InRel-NPower project researches Innovative and Reliable Nitride-based power devices and applications. Both GaN and AlN-based transistor could result in conversion systems achieving a 99% conversion efficiency for application in power electronics.  Eleven different partners from Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and Japan are gathered in the InRel-NPower consortium, aiming to push the nitride-based semiconductor technology to the next level.

InRel-NPowerFrom energy generation to the end-user, electric energy undergoes a number of conversion steps. These steps are currently highly inefficient to the point that it is estimated that only 20% of the whole energy involved in energy generation reaches the end-user. Power electronics play a very important role in energy conversion with high efficiency and can be considered as workhorse of the future energy efficient systems. Power semiconductor devices are the key electronic components used in power electronic systems. The advances in power semiconductor technology will impact a large part of the electronic ecosystem.
Wide Bandgap Semiconductors (WBG) such as SiC, GaN, AlN and diamond show superior material properties compared to Silicon, as displayed in the above figure. Due to these unique characteristics, these WBG represent the unique material of choice to help solving the energy problems of the future. The advanced features in benchmarking power devices include conduction modulation and superjunction in devices taking advantage of bipolar conduction. To this end, the GaN-AlN-InN material system (e.g. AlGaN, AlN, InGaN) has a unique advantage due to its prominent spontaneous and piezoelectric polarization effects and flexibility in inserting appropriate heterojunctions thus dramatically broadening the device design space. Systems employing GaN based devices have higher power efficiency, corresponding to lower losses, and higher switching frequencies, that allow to reduce the size and weight of the converters. Such properties allow for the implementation of electronics operating at high-switching speed, higher voltages, higher temperatures while maintaining high efficiencies. This unique performance provides a qualitative change in their application to energy processing.


The InRel-NPower project researches high voltage GaN and AlN transistors for application in power electronics, from growing the raw material to packaging and a demonstration of its potential in a final device. More in technical details, we aim for the development of:
•    Robust and reliable GaN-on-Si devices
•    Understanding the degradation mechanisms of Nitride-based devices
•    AlN-based devices for very high performance and reliability
•    Advancing the low-inductance packaging for power devices
•    Highly-efficient systems with GaN devices 


Role of Ghent University

Ghent University coordinates the disseminational activities of the project, and will focus on the development and characterization of the GaN- and AlN- substrates, as well as the efficient electrical contact of those materials.



Prof. Christophe Detavernier
Department Solid-state Sciences
Phone number: +32/