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Self-heating imposes the major limitation on the output power of GaN-based HFETs on sapphire or SiC. SiC substrates allow for a simple device thermal management scheme; however, they are about a factor 20-100 higher in cost than sapphire. Sapphire substrates of diameters exceeding 4 in are easily available but the heat removal through the substrate is inefficient due to its low thermal conductivity. The authors demonstrate that the thermal impedance of GaN based HFETs over sapphire substrates can be significantly reduced by implementing flip-chip bonding with thermal conductive epoxy underfill. They also show that in sapphire-based flip-chip mounted devices the heat spread from the active region under the gate along the GaN buffer and the substrate is the key contributor to the overall thermal impedance.
Date of Publication: June 2003