GaN power electronics

GaN-based devices, circuits, and modules for highest energy efficiency and maximum voltage

In the field of power electronics, Fraunhofer IAF focuses on the following aspects:

  • Maximum energy efficiency for electromobility, air conditioning and information technology
  • Novel lateral and vertical 1200 V devices
  • Monolithic and heterogeneous integration
GaN half bridge of Fraunhofer IAF for power conversion
© Fraunhofer IAF
GaN half bridge for power conversion

Maximum energy efficiency for electromobility, air conditioning and information technology

Energy-efficient power electronics are one of the keys to a successful energy transition. Due to the physical properties of the material, technologies based on the power semiconductor gallium nitride (GaN) enable higher performance with lower losses compared to conventional semiconductors such as silicon (Si). With innovative devices and circuit designs, researchers at Fraunhofer IAF regularly achieve top values in terms of efficiency. The application examples range from GaN high-voltage transistors for electromobility and control electronics for climate-friendly electrocaloric heat pumps to high-performance and at the same time resource-saving power ICs for information technology.

Monolithic half bridge with low voltage HEMT for point-of-load converter realized by PCB embedding; developed at Fraunhofer IAF
© Fraunhofer IAF
Monolithic half-bridge with low-voltage HEMT for a new type of point-of-load converter

Lateral and vertical 1200 V GaN devices

1200 V devices are an essential development in the field of electromobility and in electric drive, charging and transmission technology. Fraunhofer IAF is working together with original equipment manufacturers and suppliers on innovative device concepts to increase energy efficiency and power density, reduce costs and increase reliability. Both lateral and vertical designs and their combination are used. The fact that Fraunhofer IAF has expertise and infrastructure along the entire value chain has proven to be an advantage for researchers and partners. The institute’s capabilities range from design to epitaxy, process technology, and characterization to assembly technology and system integration.

48 V/5 kW motor inverter with GaN-based three-phase half bridge, developed at Fraunhofer IAF
© Fraunhofer IAF
The 48 V/5 kW motor inverter with a GaN-based 3-phase half bridge is a compact, efficient drive module for electromobility that was developed at Fraunhofer IAF on the basis of commercial components in large quantities.

Monolithic and heterogeneous integration

The integration of several components and functionalities in one chip is another area of research at Fraunhofer IAF. Technologies for both monolithic and heterogeneous integration, such as GaN-on-SiC or GaN-on-Si processes, are also being developed for this purpose. A prime example of this expertise is a complete 3-phase motor inverter on a 2 x 2 mm2 single GaN chip. Researchers at Fraunhofer IAF have realized this chip with three half bridges for controlling a brushless DC (BLDC) motor and demonstrated the function for motor applications in the field of robotics or for flying drones (DOI: 10.3390/s23146512). The device concept can be scaled up for compact, efficient drives in electromobility.


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Technologies, devices and circuits, assemblies and modules

Get an overview of the research and development portfolio of Fraunhofer IAF in the field of power electronics.


GaN and AlScN technologies

  • Epitaxy structures on 4'' to 8'' wafers
  • Process lines on 4'' wafers
  • Lateral processes up to 1200 V
  • Vertical and quasi-vertical processes

Devices and circuits

  • Lateral GaN devices up to 1200 V
  • Lateral power devices and integrated GaN power ICs
  • All-in-GaN power ICs
  • Vertical devices and GaN power ICs

Assemblies and modules

  • Die attach
  • Wire bonding
  • PCB embedding
  • Device packaging
  • Module manufacturing

Range of services in power electronics

Our capabilities

  • Design and simulation of GaN-based devices, circuits and modules
  • Lateral and vertical GaN technologies
  • MOCVD GaN epitaxy
  • Individual technology development
  • Processing up to 4'' wafers
  • Characterization of devices and circuits
  • Manufacturing of devices and modules
  • Manufacturing of demonstrators
  • Small series production

Your benefits

  • Development and manufacturing according to application specifications
  • High power density and efficiency
  • High robustness and reliability
  • Highly integrated and compact modules
  • Precise in-house measuring capacities

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