Both awards at the 14th International Conference on Nitride Semiconductors (ICNS) went to researchers from Fraunhofer IAF: Akash Nair received the Outstanding Poster Award and Matthias Sinnwell was honored with the Best Student Award for his presentation.
Akash Nair, scientist in the field of growth of piezoelectric materials, was honored for his poster entitled “Controlling stress behavior of sputtered a-plane Al1-xScxN films”. There, the doctoral student describes how he and his group succeeded for the first time in growing aluminum scandium nitride (AlScN) layers in the non-polar direction while controlling the layer stress. This result represents a breakthrough for the growth of AlScN.
The piezoelectric material AlScN is considered extremely promising for industry, as it can be used for the development of acoustic wave devices, MEMS devices and components for high-frequency electronics. However, material growth has been a challenge so far: The growth of AlScN layers in the non-polar direction leads to positive material properties, but it has not yet been possible to avoid an increase in in-plane stress, which can have a detrimental effect on the film properties. For the first time, Nair and his group have now succeeded in finding a method for growing AlScN layers with an increased scandium concentration at low stress. This result is not only of great importance for the growth of AlScN, but also has the potential to enable new industrially relevant applications.