The Physical, Chemical, and Nano Sciences Center's vision for Compound Semiconductors is to develop the science of compound semiconductors that will enable us to invent integrated nano-technologies for the microsystems of the future. We will achieve this by advancing the frontiers of semiconductor research in areas such as quantum phenomena, defect physics, materials and device modeling, heteroepitaxy, and by discovering new materials and inventing new device structures with novel properties.
The focus of the compound semiconductor science and technology thrust is to understand and exploit compound semiconductor materials and devices for national security applications. We are developing the fundamental physics and chemistry foundations to advance the state-of-the-art compound semiconductor optoelectronic materials and devices. Our approach is based on a focused effort including materials synthesis, characterization, theoretical modeling, device design and processing. Our research portfolio encompasses quantum phenomena, defect physics, materials and device modeling, heteroepitaxy, semiconductor nanostructures, and developing new materials and device structures with novel properties.
Our efforts are focused on the following areas of semiconductor research:
In the future, solid-state electro-optical devices based on new materials are likely to become capable of producing white light for general building illumination at significantly higher efficiencies than existing conventional light sources, with potential energy cost savings of up to $100 B per year. DOE Office of Building Technologies is presently sponsoring a joint industry/national lab/university technology roadmapping project on developing high efficiency LEDs and laser diodes for this purpose. If successful, the initiative would fund a multi-year research and development effort, the Solid-State Lighting Initiative. Sandia is currently coordinating the roadmapping effort with the Optoelectronics Industry Development Association under sponsorship of the DOE, and will likely play a significant role in the Initiative, for example, in establishing the fundamental science and technology base needed in order for this vision of ultra-efficient solid-state illumination to become a reality. Research in this area includes improvements in nitride and phosphide based growth chemistry, reactor design, and light emitting devices including LEDs and VCSELS in the red, green, blue, and ultraviolet wavelength ranges.
We are also responsible for research, development, and application of chemical science to materials technologies critical to Sandia's missions. Our work currently emphasizes the science and engineering of Metal Organic Chemical Vapor Deposition (MOCVD), Molecular Beam Epitaxy (MBE), and nanostructure synthesis and characterization. We are also involved in the synthesis and characterization of other novel materials such as carbon nanotubes, nanoporous carbon, high temperature superconductors, and various metal and semiconductor thin films using techniques such as pulsed laser deposition and thermal chemical vapor deposition.
MOCVD is a technology for producing inorganic thin films. MOCVD is a crucial step in the fabrication of GaN- and GaAs-based microelectronic and optoelectronic devices and nanostructures, as well as being used for depositing protective coatings. We advance the state-of-the-art in MOCVD and related technologies through an interdisciplinary approach which includes a wide range of experimental and theoretical techniques and an extensive network of partners inside and outside of Sandia. Using MOCVD we are investigating novel GaN-based structures for the development of high efficiency solid-state lighting and ultraviolet light emitters, quantum dot structures for infrared technologies, and improved in-situ diagnostic instrumentation.