Information für die Wissenschaft Nr. 77 | 2. Oktober 2023
Priority Programme “Energy Efficient Power Electronics ‘GaNius’” (SPP 2312)
In May 2020, the Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) established the Priority Programme “Energy Efficient Power Electronics ‘GaNius’” (SPP 2312). The programme is designed to run for six years. The present call invites proposals for the second three-year funding period.
Power electronics is a key technology to realise the worldwide transition towards sustainable electric energy systems and applications in industry, transportation or communication. With a visible need for power electronic components, which is expected to further increase significantly, their energy efficiency, use of resources and reliability are becoming ever more important, and demand for new device and converter technologies beyond the state of the art is on the rise. Wide-bandgap power semiconductors have made remarkable progress in recent years. Specifically, power semiconductors based on the material Gallium Nitride (GaN) have improved considerably and found their way into the market. However, they are still restricted to a small power and application range. Research within the Priority Programme “GaNius” aims to leverage the full potential of the material GaN / group III nitride materials like switching speed or integration depth for highly compact and efficient power electronic systems, and focuses on interdisciplinary and cooperative research on novel device geometries, converter design, converter topologies and components.
In the first funding period of the programme, projects were expected to focus more on introducing and advancing new concepts in the development and modelling of technology, devices and systems, aiming at highlighting the possibly game-changing impact of GaN on specific power electronic applications. In this regard, the funded projects cover new heterostructures and vertical device geometries, researching processes and novel material combinations in order to improve power density, monolithic integration or higher current and voltage capabilities of GaN-based power semiconductors. These research activities are accompanied by projects on device characterisation and modelling methods. In this first phase, a smaller number of projects investigate approaches to optimise the application of GaN transistors, e.g. by using advanced and integrated driving schemes, and demonstrate specific converter topologies that could notably benefit from GaN features, namely the possibility to realise monolithic bidirectional transistors.
In the second funding period, the research proposals are expected to shift towards the verification of the impact of the new approaches, focusing on converter or system designs and highly efficient or compact demonstrators with novel or optimised integration schemes or converter topologies. In this regard, technology- and device-oriented projects are expected to start at a level of maturity that allows to realise and demonstrate power semiconductors for use in converters and systems within the funding period. Therefore, fundamental research on new materials and completely new device concepts are not within the scope of the second project phase. Materials and devices that are not part of the group III nitrides (e.g. SiC or Ga2O3) are also not part of the Priority Programme.
Combining complementary expertise to achieve the goals of the programme, the following research topics are addressed:
- Technology and devices:
Research topics with the potential to provide significant advancement of currently explored concepts and geometries, which enable high-performance power semiconductors to be demonstrated in power converters. One important goal is to improve performance at the circuit level in monolithically integrated architectures. This can be achieved by device optimisation and the correlation of its properties with the switching performance of integrated half-bridges or bidirectional switches, as well as a targeted optimisation for specific voltage/current/dynamics operational conditions. Approaches striving to overcome the limitations of the state of the art via vertical or quasi-vertical device geometries may also be of particular interest.
- Simulation, modelling and characterisation of nitride-based power semiconductor devices, assemblies, components and circuits:
This comprises experiments on, and 2- and 3-dimensional numerical simulation of electronic, electromagnetic and thermal properties including robustness and reliability, with a particular emphasis on high energy densities and high-frequency operation. The intended purpose of the simulations is to conduct feasibility studies of novel architectures, interpret experimental findings as well as optimise circuit and converter designs. Compact models will be required for circuit simulation, including high power switching behaviour or short circuit conditions. On the system level, multi-physics design of power converters targeting compactness, efficiency and reliability are addressed. Projects on modelling and simulation as well as analysis of material properties only, without a direct link to a particular device architecture or device performance, are not intended. Experimental characterisation should be linked either to new device concepts or new converter concepts.
- Converter topologies, architectures and systems for GaN-based power converters:
New energy conversion topologies and architectures that are only feasible using GaN are in focus, e.g. topologies and architectures which will be enabled by the high switching speeds or the bidirectional nature of GaN, as well as power converters in which GaN is a game-changing factor with respect to choosing if and/or when to operate them in hard- or soft-switching mode. Multilevel and modular power converter architectures may be explored to significantly increase currents and voltages and/or mitigate EMI problems. Further research topics may include energy conversion systems where through the use of GaN, components like filters or electric machines will have specific benefits in terms of e.g. efficiency, compactness, robustness, reliability or controllability. Research on reliability could include topics like the protection of GaN devices, which can efficiently deal with the fast-switching nature of the devices, and fault-tolerant approaches which can actively handle failures. Among others, ideas for energy conversion systems based on GaN which could significantly advance the creation of a fully electronic-based electric grid (e-grid) and impact of the GaN operation on the components of such a grid are encouraged, also considering possible power quality challenges, as well as systems where the significant increase of the bandwidth due to the use of GaN opens up new possible applications (e.g. in communication).
New ideas for converters and systems enabled by GaN technology should be proposed, clearly indicating the novelty introduced by GaN devices. Funding of projects only addressing passive components is not intended.
To guarantee the focus of the second programme period, each technology-based proposal should include a partner engaged in power semiconductor device characterisation and application, power converter topologies or system design approaches.
The Priority Programme intends to support the academic career of researchers in early career phases and to further an intense contact between different research teams through status meetings and workshops. Active participation in the networking and workshop activities is expected. The Priority Programme will also provide a gender equality programme and family-friendly working conditions.
Proposals must be written in English and submitted to the DFG by 24 January 2024. Please note that proposals can only be submitted via elan, the DFG’s electronic proposal processing system.
Applicants must be registered in elan prior to submitting a proposal to the DFG. If you have not yet registered, please note that you must do so by 17 January 2024 to submit a proposal under this call; registration requests received after this time cannot be considered. Please note that registration is only required for applicants who do not yet have a personal account with the DFG. You will normally receive confirmation of your registration by the next working day. Note that you will be asked to select the appropriate Priority Programme call during both the registration and the proposal process.
If you would like to submit a proposal for a new project within the existing Priority Programme, please go to Proposal Submission – New Project – Priority Programmes and select “SPP 2312” from the current list of calls. Previous applicants can submit a proposal for the renewal of an existing project under Proposal Submission – Proposal Overview/Renewal Proposal.
In preparing your proposal, please review the programme guidelines (DFG form 50.05, section B) and follow the proposal preparation instructions (DFG form 54.01). These forms can either be down-loaded from our website or accessed through the elan portal.
The review colloquium for the Priority Programme is planned to be held within the 1st quarter 2024 at the Technical University in Berlin. The date and venue will be communicated through the programme website and by a notification to the applicants. The designated start of funding is the 3rd quarter of 2024.
The DFG strongly welcomes proposals from researchers of all genders and sexual identities, from different ethnic, cultural, religious, ideological, or social backgrounds, from different career stages, types of universities and research institutions, and with disabilities or chronic illness.
With regard to the subject-specific focus of this call, the DFG encourages female researchers in particular to submit proposals.
More information on the Priority Programme is available under:
The elan system can be accessed at:
DFG forms 50.05 and 54.01 can be downloaded at:
For scientific enquiries please contact the Priority Programme coordinator:
- Professor Dr.-Ing. Sibylle Dieckerhoff
Technische Universität Berlin
Institut für Energie- und Automatisierungstechnik
phone +49 30 314-25511
Link auf E-Mailsibylle.email@example.com
Questions on the DFG proposal process can be directed to:
- Dr. Ina Strauß
phone +49 228 885-2523
Link auf E-Mailina.firstname.lastname@example.org
- Iris Leuthen-Schmittuz
phone +49 228 885-2809
Link auf E-Mailiris.email@example.com
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