Study Shows Gallium Nitride Almost as Durable as Diamonds

Four Lehigh engineers report a previously unknown property for GaN: its wear resistance approaches that of diamonds and promises to open up applications in touch screens, space vehicles and radio-frequency microelectromechanical systems.

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Ph.D. candidate Guosong Zeng is part of a Lehigh research group that was the first to explore the wear resistance of gallium nitride. Their discovery could have a dramatic effect on the electronic and digital device industries.

 

 

Gallium nitride (GaN) has emerged as one of the most important and widely used semiconducting materials. Its optoelectronic and mechanical properties make it ideal for a variety of applications, including light-emitting diodes (LEDs), high-temperature transistors, sensors and biocompatible electronic implants in humans.

 

In 2014, three Japanese scientists won the Nobel Prize in physics for discovering GaN’s critical role in generating blue LED light, which is required, in combination with red and green light, to produce white LED light sources.

 

Now, four Lehigh engineers have reported a previously unknown property for GaN: Its wear resistance approaches that of diamonds and promises to open up applications in touch screens, space vehicles and radio-frequency microelectromechanical systems (RF MEMS), all of which require high-speed, high-vibration technology.

 

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