As the world becomes increasingly electrified, the need for power electronics is greater than ever. Power electronics use semiconductors to regulate the flow of electricity, converting it between needed types and voltages for specific uses.

Gallium oxide is an emerging material with great potential for power electronics. However, methods for a manufacturing step called etching, which turns gallium oxide into usable power electronics chips, have a problem: They damage the material.

While the resulting product is still usable, the damage changes gallium oxide’s electrical properties, meaning electronics using the compound are unable to achieve their maximum performance.

Nidhin Kurian Kalarickal, an assistant professor of electrical engineering in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University, solved this problem by developing a damage-free etching process with his graduate materials science and engineering student, Abishek Katta, and collaborators from semiconductor manufacturing equipment company Agnitron Technology.

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