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Chapter: Electronic Devices - Special Semiconductor Devices

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Gallium Arsenide Device

Gallium arsenide (GaAs) is a compound of the elements gallium and arsenic. It is a III/V semiconductor, and is used in the manufacture of devices such as microwave frequency integrated circuits, monolithic microwave integrated circuits, infrared light-emitting diodes, laser diodes, solar cells and optical windows.

GALLIUM ARSENIDE DEVICE:

 

Gallium arsenide (GaAs) is a compound of the elements gallium and arsenic. It is a III/V semiconductor, and is used in the manufacture of devices such as microwave frequency integrated circuits, monolithic microwave integrated circuits, infrared light-emitting diodes, laser diodes, solar cells and optical windows. GaAs is often used as a substrate material for the epitaxial growth of other III-V semiconductors including: InGaAs and GaInNAs.

 

Some electronic properties of gallium arsenide are superior to those of silicon. It has a higher saturated electron velocity and higher electron mobility, allowing gallium arsenide transistors to function at frequencies in excess of 250 GHz. Unlike silicon junctions, GaAs devices are relatively insensitive to heat owing to their wider bandgap. Also, GaAs devices tend to have less noise than silicon devices, especially at high frequencies. This is a result of higher carrier mobilities and lower resistive device parasitics. These properties recommend GaAs circuitry in mobile phones, satellite communications, microwave point-to-point links and higher frequency radar systems. It is used in the manufacture of Gunn diodes for generation of microwaves.

 

 

Another advantage of GaAs is that it has a direct band gap, which means that it can be used to emit light efficiently. Silicon has an indirect bandgap and so is very poor at emitting light. Nonetheless, recent advances may make silicon LEDs and lasers possible.

 

As a wide direct band gap material with resulting resistance to radiation damage, GaAs is an excellent material for space electronics and optical windows in high power applications.

 

Because of its wide band gap, pure GaAs is highly resistive. Combined with the high dielectric constant, this property makes GaAs a very good electrical substrate and unlike Si provides natural isolation between devices and circuits. This has made it an ideal material for microwave and millimetre wave integrated circuits, MMICs, where active and essential passive components can readily be produced on a single slice of GaAs.


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