AFRL Adopts New Technology to Boost Gallium Oxide R&D

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The Air Force Research Laboratory is implementing a new feature to support the development of semiconductor materials for lighter and smaller electronics. The emerging Oxide Molecular Beam Epitaxy laboratory will house a new MBE chamber to create gallium oxide semiconductors for use in aircraft electronics, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base said Friday.

Don Dorsey, materials research engineer at AFRL, said that gallium oxide still holds a lot of unexplored potential as a semiconductor material. Gallium oxide has also displayed the capacity to withstand higher voltages than common silicon-based semiconductors, and allow for aircraft electronic components to be made in smaller sizes.

“We are able to produce extremely pure samples and have the assurance that our material formulations are exactly as we intend them,” he said.

The MBE technology also fosters collaboration with other AFRL directorates, industry firms and centers of excellence at universities.

“The capability to produce up to four-inch wafers enables us to work with university centers of excellence as well as industrial research organizations to advance the material capabilities and open new doors for this technology,” said Shin Mou, materials researcher at AFRL.

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