Professor Martin Kuball is one of two research academics in the University of Bristol to receive the Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award.
Jointly funded by the Wolfson Foundation and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Wolfson Research Merit Award scheme aims to provide universities with additional support to enable them to attract science talent from overseas and retain respected UK scientists of outstanding achievement and potential.
Professor Kuball’s research, ‘Gallium Nitride Diamond Electronics – Novel Thermal Management Concepts’, focuses on semiconductor electronic devices, in particular microwave and power electronic devices.
Semiconductor electronic devices have a major impact on our everyday lives all over the world. Microwave devices are found in mobile phone base stations. Power electronic devices keep our laptop batteries charged and ensure that solar panels generate environmentally green energy for our homes.
For the past 50 years, microwave and power electronic devices have relied on traditional semiconductor materials such as silicon and gallium arsenide. Using novel semiconductor devices like gallium nitride would reduce weight, increase efficiency and reduce energy consumption. However, power densities in these semiconductor electronic devices nowadays can reach levels equal to the surface of the sun.
The research focuses on how to keep these device as cool as possible, for example using their integration with the highest thermal conductivity material known to mankind, diamond; and on the reliability and lifetime of these new technologies.
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