Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid State Physics IAF
Recent publications
Lab-on-a-chip (LOC) applications have emerged as invaluable physical and life sciences tools. The advantages stem from advanced system miniaturization, thus, requiring far less sample volume while allowing for complex functionality, increased reproducibility, and high throughput. However, LOC applications necessitate extensive sensor miniaturization to leverage these inherent advantages fully. Atom-sized quantum sensors are highly promising to bridge this gap and have enabled measurements of temperature, electric and magnetic fields on the nano- to microscale. Nevertheless, the technical complexity of both disciplines has so far impeded an uncompromising combination of LOC systems and quantum sensors. Here, we present a fully integrated microfluidic platform for solid-state spin quantum sensors, like the nitrogen-vacancy (NV) center in diamond. Our platform fulfills all technical requirements, such as fast spin manipulation, enabling full quantum sensing capabilities, biocompatibility, and easy adaptability to arbitrary channel and chip geometries. To illustrate the vast potential of quantum sensors in LOC systems, we demonstrate various NV center-based sensing modalities for chemical analysis in our microfluidic platform, ranging from paramagnetic ion detection to high-resolution microscale NV-NMR. Consequently, our work opens the door for novel chemical analysis capabilities within LOC devices with applications in electrochemistry, high-throughput reaction screening, bioanalytics, organ-on-a-chip, or single-cell studies.
III-V solid solutions are sensitive to growth conditions due to their stochastic nature. The highly crystalline thin films require a profound understanding of the material properties and reliable means of their determination. In this work, we have investigated the Raman spectral fingerprint of Al1−xScxN thin films with Sc concentrations x = 0, 0.14, 0.17, 0.23, 0.32, and 0.41, grown on Al2O3(0001) substrates. The spectra show softening and broadening of the modes related to the dominant wurtzite phase with increasing Sc content, in agreement with the corresponding XRD results. We investigated the primary scattering mechanism responsible for the immense modes’ linewidths by comparing the average grain sizes to the phonon correlation length, indicating that alloying augments the point defect density. The low-frequency Raman bands were attributed to the confined spherical acoustic modes in the co-forming ScN nanoparticles. Temperature-dependent Raman measurements enabled the temperature coefficient of the E2(high) mode to be determined for all Sc concentrations for the precise temperature monitoring in AlScN-based devices.
This work reports on the growth of 1 µm nonpolar a-plane Al0.7Sc0.3N(11-20) thin films on an r-plane sapphire Al2O3(1-102) via magnetron sputter epitaxy. The electro-acoustic properties of the film structures were characterized using surface acoustic wave (SAW) resonators. Measured electrical responses were found to be strongly anisotropic in terms of the wave propagation direction. We identified a sagittal polarized Rayleigh wave mode with large coupling (𝑘2eff= 3.7%), increased phase velocity (𝑣= 4825 m/s), as well as high quality factor (Q > 1000) for SAW propagation along the c-axis [0001] and normalized thicknesses ℎ/𝜆=0.2. Finite element method simulations using electro-acoustic properties of Al0.7Sc0.3N obtained from the density functional theory reproduce our experimental results
Unintentionally doped (001)‐oriented orthorhombic κ‐Ga2O3 epitaxial films on c‐plane sapphire substrates are characterized by the presence of ≈ 10 nm wide columnar rotational domains that can severely inhibit in‐plane electronic conduction. Comparing the in‐ and out‐of‐plane resistance on well‐defined sample geometries, it is experimentally proved that the in‐plane resistivity is at least ten times higher than the out‐of‐plane one. The introduction of silane during metal‐organic vapor phase epitaxial growth not only allows for n‐type Si extrinsic doping, but also results in the increase of more than one order of magnitude in the domain size (up to ≈ 300 nm) and mobility (highest µ ≈ 10 cm²V⁻¹s⁻¹, with corresponding lowest ρ ≈ 0.2 Ωcm). To qualitatively compare the mean domain dimension in κ‐Ga2O3 epitaxial films, non‐destructive experimental procedures are provided based on X‐ray diffraction and Raman spectroscopy. The results of this study pave the way to significantly improved in‐plane conduction in κ‐Ga2O3 and its possible breakthrough in new generation electronics. The set of cross‐linked experimental techniques and corresponding interpretation here proposed can apply to a wide range of material systems that suffer/benefit from domain‐related functional properties.
A 99% efficient power converter is applied to an electrocaloric heat pump prototype for the first time, enabling cyclic electrical field variation in electrocaloric capacitors and high heat pump performance. The electrocaloric effect is an almost fully reversible temperature change in special dielectrics caused by changed electrical field. The GaN power converter achieves high efficiency by zero-voltage switching hysteretic current control. Blocks of commercial multi-layer ceramic capacitors which exhibit an electrocaloric effect are efficiently charged and discharged, synchronized to contacting to a heat sink and source by actuators, which forms a heat pump prototype. Brayton cycles are caused by trapezoidal voltage. Then, arbitrary voltage (E-field) variation for Carnot-like cycles with quasi-isothermal heat transfer is demonstrated and verified by the measured almost constant heat flux during contact to the heat sink. The performance of electrocaloric heat pump prototypes in literature was limited by losses of LC resonant circuits, and is improved by an up to 15.5-fold decrease by this work. The work demonstrates electrocalorics as an emerging power electronics application and contributes to realize future efficient and emission-free, solid state, and electrocaloric heat pump systems.
Lab-on-a-chip (LOC) applications have emerged as invaluable physical and life sciences tools. The advantages stem from advanced system miniaturization, thus, requiring far less sample volume while allowing for complex functionality, increased reproducibility, and high throughput. However, LOC applications necessitate extensive sensor miniaturization to leverage these inherent advantages fully. Atom-sized quantum sensors are highly promising to bridge this gap and have enabled measurements of temperature, electric and magnetic fields on the nano- to microscale. Nevertheless, the technical complexity of both disciplines has so far impeded an uncompromising combination of LOC systems and quantum sensors. Here, we present a fully integrated microfluidic platform for solid-state spin quantum sensors, such as the nitrogen-vacancy (NV) center in diamond. Our platform fulfills all technical requirements, such as fast spin manipulation, enabling full quantum sensing capabilities, biocompatibility, and easy adaptability to arbitrary channel and chip geometries. To illustrate the vast potential of quantum sensors in LOC systems, we demonstrate various NV center-based sensing modalities for chemical analysis in our microfluidic platform, ranging from paramagnetic ion detection to high-resolution microscale NV-NMR. Consequently, our work opens the door for novel chemical analysis capabilities within LOC devices with applications in electrochemistry, high throughput reaction screening, bioanalytics, organ-on-a-chip, or single-cell studies.
Diamond enables the construction of various (bio)sensors, including those with quantum‐based detection. However, bare diamond interfaces are susceptible to unspecific adhesion of proteins and other macromolecules from biological media or complex samples. This impairs selectivity in biosensing, leads to low signal‐to‐noise ratio in fluorescence‐based applications, and introduces the need for blocking steps in incubation protocols. Here, a stable, protein‐repellent, and clickable reactive polymer coating is introduced, abolishing unspecific protein adhesion while concurrently enabling covalent immobilization of functional compounds as recognition elements. The polymer coating has two segments, an antifouling poly(N‐(2‐hydroxypropyl) methacrylamide) and an alkyne‐terminated poly(propargyl methacrylamide) providing the click functionality. The antifouling properties and click‐reactivity of the polymers are demonstrated by selective protein binding assays on micropatterns written by microchannel cantilever spotting (µCS). The assays demonstrated the successful functionalization of both diamond and glass surfaces and the excellent antifouling properties of the polymer coating. The coating procedure is compatible with oxidized diamond surfaces thus well‐suitable for diamond‐based quantum technology. The results can directly impact applications of diamond materials in optically detected quantum sensing or fluorescence sensing in general. The polymer functionalization can also be used for any case where highly specific interaction with low fouling is desired. While diamond is of high interest for biosensing applications due to favorable material properties, a major drawback is the high susceptibility of bare diamond surfaces for unspecific protein adhesion. Here, a two‐segment polymer coating is demonstrated to efficiently block diamond surfaces with a covalently bound thin anti‐fouling film that remains active for the clicking of additional functional elements.
The laser ultrasound (LU) technique has been used to determine dispersion curves for surface acoustic waves (SAW) propagating in AlScN/Al2O3 systems. Polar and non-polar Al0.77Sc0.23N thin films were prepared by magnetron sputter epitaxy on Al2O3 substrates and coated with a metal layer. SAW dispersion curves have been measured for various propagation directions on the surface. This is easily achieved in LU measurements since no additional surface structures need to be fabricated, which would be required if elastic properties are determined with the help of SAW resonators. Variation of the propagation direction allows for efficient use of the system’s anisotropy when extracting information on elastic properties. This helps to overcome the complexity caused by a large number of elastic constants in the film material. An analysis of the sensitivity of the SAW phase velocities (with respect to the elastic moduli and their dependence on SAW propagation direction) reveals that the non-polar AlScN films are particularly well suited for the extraction of elastic film properties. Good agreement is found between experiment and theoretical predictions, validating LU as a non-destructive and fast technique for the determination of elastic constants of piezoelectric thin films.
In this paper, we investigate, using X-ray Bragg diffraction imaging and defect selective etching, a new type of extended defect that occurs in ammonothermally grown gallium nitride (GaN) single crystals. This hexagonal “honeycomb” shaped defect is composed of bundles of parallel threading edge dislocations located in the corners of the hexagon. The observed size of the honeycomb ranges from 0.05 mm to 2 mm and is clearly correlated with the number of dislocations located in each of the hexagon’s corners: typically ~5 to 200, respectively. These dislocations are either grouped in areas that exhibit “diameters” of 100–250 µm, or they show up as straight long chain alignments of the same size that behave like limited subgrain boundaries. The lattice distortions associated with these hexagonally arranged dislocation bundles are extensively measured on one of these honeycombs using rocking curve imaging, and the ensemble of the results is discussed with the aim of providing clues about the origin of these “honeycombs”.
The analysis, modeling, design, simulation, and experimental evaluation of a 400GHz on-chip antenna is presented, with a novel combination of metastructures, a microstrip patch, a quartz-based dielectric resonator, and a diamond-based anti-reflex layer—all integrated on a 35nm InGaAs metamorphic high-electron-mobility transistor (mHEMT) technology. Said combination represents a first-time implementation for all submillimeter-wave-capable semiconductor technologies. Circumventing a substrate-thickness limitation of 4.98 μm, a state-of-the-art broadband, efficient, and to-the-broadside radiating on-chip antenna solution is realized. It achieves a measured impedance bandwidth of 100 GHz, 25.6 %, spanning from 340 GHz to 440GHz. A consistent pattern bandwidth of 75GHz is recorded, with an efficiency of 50% to 66 %, and a directivity of up to 10.4 dBi—or 27 dBi, with the utilization of a polypropylene-based dielectric lens. The theoretical analysis of the proposed on-chip antenna is presented, as well as two modeling approaches are shown and compared. Between the analytical and the 3D electromagnetic model, the latter is chosen as it offers a greater precision at defining the metastructure unit cell and enables the inclusion of the remaining components of the proposed antenna setup. The measured reflection coefficient and far-field patterns are compared to simulations via the utilized model, and a strong agreement is observed. These far-field patterns are acquired with the on-chip antenna inserted within a broadband 400GHz transmitter submillimeter-wave monolithic integrated circuit, processed on the 35nm mHEMT technology.
This work uses a surface acoustic wave (SAW) magnetic field sensor for measurement and closed-loop current control of the inductor current in a GaN-based dc-dc power converter. The sensor is based on aluminium scandium nitride (AlScN) thin films with relatively high Sc concentration of 32%, and fabricated on low-cost 8-inch silicon substrate, with a magnetostrictive FeCoSiB film on top of a SAW delay line. The device has dc and bidirectional current measurement capability (derived from the magnetic flux density around a current trace), and is operated electrically isolated above the current trace. With permanent magnets as magnetic bias, the setup has a usable bidirectional current range of ±5 A. A phase detector IC measures the phase shift between the 296 MHz, 19 dBm input and 35 dB attenuated output signal of the delay line sensor. The active sensor area has a distance of 2.5 mm from the current trace. In a 1.2 mT bias, the sensor is operated with a sensitivity of 18.28°/mT and bipolar current range of up to ±5 A. The sensor signal is enhanced by an analog filter to compensate the over 1 µs delay from the delay line and readout circuit. Finally, the sensor is used as the input of an analog hysteretic current control loop. The closed-loop current control operation is demonstrated using a 48 V GaN-based half-bridge dc-dc converter with 16 kHz triangular inductor current.
Growth of AlScN high‐electron‐mobility transistor (HEMT) structures by metalorganic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) is challenging due to the low vapor pressure of the conventionally used precursor tris‐cyclopentadienyl‐scandium (Cp3Sc). We show that the electrical and structural characteristics of the AlScN/GaN heterostructure improve significantly by using bis‐methylcyclopentadienyl‐scandiumchloride (MCp2ScCl) which has a higher vapor pressure and allows for an increased molar flow and thus higher growth rate. We present AlScN/GaN HEMT heterostructures with superior electrical characteristics deposited at different barrier growth temperatures. The sheet resistance Rsh of 172 Ω/sq obtained at 900∘C barrier growth temperature is among the lowest reported so far for AlScN/GaN HEMT structures. The sheet charge carrier density ns is 3.23×1013cm−2 and the electron mobility μ is 1124 cm2/(Vs). This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
The direct impact of structural quality on the ferroelectric properties of hexagonal Al 1– x Sc x N with an Sc-content of x = 0.3 was investigated using dynamic hysteresis measurements, high-resolution x-ray diffraction (HRXRD), and atomic force microscopy. The films investigated were deposited on p-doped (001)-Si substrates by reactive pulsed DC magnetron sputtering under different gas mixtures to vary the structural quality and surface morphology between samples. Misoriented grains were identified as ferroelectrically inactive, as these grains resulted in an underestimation and distortion of the ferroelectric quantities. In fact, a high amount of misoriented volume was found to have a significant effect on the coercive electric field, as this is mainly determined by the crystal strain in the ferroelectric [0001]-oriented regions, independent of its origin. Furthermore, it was concluded that the crystal quality does not have a pronounced effect on the coercive field strength. Conversely, the polarization in the film is mainly determined by the crystal quality, as a difference of 1° in the HRXRD FWHM of the ω-scan resulted in a 60% loss of polarization. The amount of polarization was influenced to a lesser extent by the misoriented grains since the ferroelectric volume of the layers was only slightly overestimated. This reveals that optimizing reproducible and transferable properties, such as crystal quality and surface morphology, is more reasonable, as the film with the lowest misoriented volume and the highest degree of c-axis orientation showed the highest polarization.
Lab-on-a-chip (LOC) applications have emerged as an invaluable tools in physical and life sciences. However, LOC applications require extensive sensor miniaturization to leverage their full potential. In recent years, novel atom-sized quantum sensors have enabled measurements of temperature, electric and magnetic fields on the nano- to microscale. Nevertheless, the technical complexity of both disciplines has so far impeded an uncompromising combination of LOC and quantum sensors. Here, we present a fully integrated microfluidic platform for solid-state spin quantum sensors, such as the nitrogen-vacancy (NV) center in diamond. Our platform fulfills all technical requirements, such as fast spin manipulation, enabling full quantum sensing capabilities, biocompatibility, and easy adaptability to arbitrary channel and chip geometries. To illustrate the vast potential of quantum sensors in LOC devices, we demonstrate various NV center-based magnetic resonance experiments for chemical analysis in our microfluidic platform. We anticipate our microfluidic quantum sensing platform as a novel tool for electrochemistry, high throughput reaction screening, bioanalytics or organ-on-a-chip, and single-cell studies.
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109 members
Quankui Yang
  • Fraunhofer-Institute for Applied Solid State Physics IAF
Michael Kunzer
  • Optoelectronics
Katarzyna Holc
  • Business Unit Semiconductor Lasers
H. Obloh
  • Business Unit Semiconductor Lasers
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Head of institution
Prof. Dr. Oliver Ambacher
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