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Sunday, April 11, 2021

#468 III-VI compounds, cont.

 In the previous blog two materials, gallium oxide, Ga2O3, and aluminum oxide Al2O3,  were identified as an example of III-VI compounds which are featuring very different characteristics. What is interesting here is that while both are oxides, one of them is semiconductor (Ga2O3), and the other one (Al2O3) is an insulator which is an example of how intriguing chemistry of III-VI compounds affects their electronic properties.


Gallium oxide is a wide band gap semiconductor (4.8 eV) with a great potential in power switching and RF electronics. Aluminum oxide (in the single-crystal form know as sapphire, by the way) is a clear-cut insulator with a band gap exceeding 7 eV and excellent thermal and chemical resistance. It is used as a substrate for both GaN and silicon single crystal films (Silicon-on-sapphire, SOI). Both belong to the class of transparent oxides, but gallium oxide is a transparent conductive oxide (TCO) while aluminum oxide is not. Both are commercially available in the form of large diameter wafers which is a clear indication of the role they play,each in its own way, in practical commercial applications.


The point here is not to elaborate on the science behind binary semiconductor compounds, which is beyond the scope of this blog, but to shed some light on the existence and importance of  III-VI compounds and to point to the reasons for which III-VI compounds are not seen the same way IV-IV, III-V, and II-VI compound semiconductors are seen (find more on compound semiconductors here).


Either way, III-VI compounds are here to stay, and as such should be appropriately accounted for in our scientific, technical and educational deliberations. And this is only an example of what elements from semiconductor periodic table, in seemingly endless binary, ternary and quaternary combinations, can contribute to materials science and engineering.

Posted by Jerzy Ruzyllo at 09:44 PM | Semiconductors | Link is a personal blog of Jerzy Ruzyllo. He is Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Department of Electrical Engineering at Penn State University. With over forty years' experience in academic research and teaching in semiconductor engineering he has a unique perspective on the developments in this technical domain and enjoys blogging about it.

This book gives a complete account of semiconductor engineering covering semiconductor properties, semiconductor materials, semiconductor devices and their uses, process technology, fabrication processes, and semiconductor materials and process characterization.

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