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There is a critical need in industry for advanced pressure sensors. Current Si based pressure sensors suffer from lower sensitivity and cannot operate at high temperatures. This novel III-Nitride semiconductor-based pressure sensor can operate at high temperature with a significantly greater sensitivity and lower operating power compared to existing Si piezoresistive sensors. With a total addressable market of $500 million, there are a wide range of potential market applications for this technology, including automotive, avionics, industrial and various consumer applications, where Si based sensors do not meet the requirements for high temperature, high sensitivity operation.
Automotive, avionics, industrials, consumer products
The invention incorporates several innovative aspects in the device design aimed at addressing the current limitations of Si based pressure sensors. These innovations include: (i) the usage of wide bandgap and inert III-Nitride semiconductors that are capable of operating at high temperature and harsh environment, (ii) ultrahigh sensitivity and low operating power arising from deflection transduction of pressure membrane using gate tunable piezoresistive AlGaN/GaN HFET, (iii) operation in enhancement mode to ensure compatibility with existing sensors using only positive supply voltage, (iv) usage of low defect density III-Nitride layers grown on HVPE GaN template for high device reliability. The use novel GaN MEMS sensors allows up to 100 times higher deflection sensitivity than Si based sensors, due to the unique piezoelectric properties.
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