Professor Martin Kuball, Director of the Centre for Device Thermography and Reliability (CDTR) in the HH Wills Physics Laboratory, has been awarded the Royal Academy of Engineering Chair in Emerging Technologies.
Professor Kuball is one of eight engineering academics across the UK to receive support from the Royal Academy of Engineering’s largest research funding scheme—the Chairs in Emerging Technologies – which has allocated a total of £22 million to support these innovative researchers and global leaders in their fields whose projects made it through the rigorous selection process in the face of stiff competition.
For his project as Chair, ‘Ultra-wide bandgap emerging power electronics for a low-carbon economy’, Professor Kuball aims to develop a new class of semiconductor power electronic devices using ultra-wide bandgap materials such as gallium oxide, boron nitride and aluminium nitride. Thanks to the outstanding properties of these materials, the new devices will be compact, highly versatile and energy efficient. This new generation of power electronics is the key to transforming a wide range of real-life applications, from data centres and motor drives to electric vehicle chargers to smart grids, all contributing to the realisation of a greener society.
Almost all low-carbon technology presently relies on Silicon (Si) based power electronic devices. However, some is starting to be replaced with wide bandgap semiconductors based on Gallium Nitride (GaN) and Silicon Carbide (SiC) to enable our daily lives. While these devices are serving us well, the unequivocal need to accelerate the reduction of our carbon footprint and to reduce the ongoing climate changes demonstrates the clear urgency to do much more, which this new class of materials and devices will enable.
The Royal Academy of Engineering’s Chair in Emerging Technologies scheme identifies global research visionaries and provides them with long-term support to lead on developing emerging technology areas with high potential to deliver economic and social benefit to the UK.
The scheme is made possible through funding from the UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.