In spring 2018, researchers at CAU Kiel and Fraunhofer ISIT discovered that the polarization of scandium aluminum nitride (ScAlN) can be ferroelectrically switched at high scandium contents. This surprising discovery of the first III-V semiconductor-based ferroelectric can be considered a scientific breakthrough and promises a disruptive innovation potential for various applications in micro- and optoelectronics and microsystems technology.
The primary goal of the proposed research project is to expand the fundamental understanding of this new ferroelectric III-V semiconductor. Central questions concern the scaling of ferroelectricity down to ultra-thin (a few nm) layers, the influence of the substrate as well as the dynamics up to the MHz range and the reliability of the switching process. In addition, the project aims to evaluate and demonstrate the innovation potential using two selected components, a multi-layer ScAlN-MEMS loudspeaker and a ferroelectric High-Electron-Mobility Transistor.