EP-ESE Electronics Seminars

Nanoscale design for large-scale challenges: New technologies for efficient power devices, effective thermal management and faster electronics

by Prof. Elison Matioli (EPFL)

Zoom details are in the invitation email. Make sure you have the latest Zoom client app to be able to connect https://cern.zoom.us/ -> Download client

Zoom details are in the invitation email.

Make sure you have the latest Zoom client app to be able to connect https://cern.zoom.us/ -> Download client


Electricity is the fastest growing form of end-use energy, however a considerable portion of the electricity consumed worldwide is wasted in power conversion, especially in power semiconductor devices. The outstanding properties of Gallium Nitride semiconductors for power electronic devices can enable significantly more efficient and compact future power converters. Despite the exceptional recent progress, the performance of current GaN power devices is still far below the limits of this material. Further improvements require a reduction of the on-resistance, while maintaining large voltage-blocking capabilities, along with an improved thermal management, which will enable higher efficiency, larger power density and smaller devices.

To address these challenges, this talk will discuss new technologies to drastically reduce the sheet resistance in these semiconductors. Combined with a judicious design of the electric field distribution, based on nanostructures, this approach enables to concurrently reduce the on-resistance and increase the breakdown voltage of power devices, leading to figures of merit far beyond the state-of-the-art [1].

To manage the large heat fluxes in power devices, I will present new technologies based on integrated microfluidic cooling inside the device. By co-designing microfluidics and electronics within the same semiconductor substrate, a monolithically integrated manifold microchannel cooling structure was produced with efficiency beyond what is currently available. Our results show that heat fluxes exceeding 1.7 kW/cm2 could be extracted using only 0.57 W/cm2 of pumping power. An unprecedented coefficient of performance (exceeding 10,000) for single-phase water-cooling was achieved, corresponding to a 50-fold increase compared to straight microchannels [2]. The proposed cooling technology should enable further miniaturization of electronics, potentially extending Moore’s law and greatly reducing the energy consumption in cooling of electronics. Furthermore, by removing the need for large external heat sinks, this approach enables the realization of very compact power converters integrated on a single chip.

Finally, this talk will discuss novel approaches for ultra-fast electronics based on picosecond switches and future directions for novel electronic devices [3].



  1. J. Ma, C. Erine, M. Zhu, L. Nela, K. Cheng, E. Matioli, “1200 V Multi-Channel Power Devices with 2.8 Ω·mm ON-Resistance”, 2019 IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM), San Francisco, CA, pp. 4.1.1-4.1.4, (2019)
  2. R. Van Erp, R. Soleimanzadeh, L. Nela, G. Kampitsis and E. Matioli, “Co-designing electronics with microfluidics for more sustainable cooling”, Nature 585, 211–216 (2020)
  3. M. S. Nikoo, A. Jafari, N. Perera, G. Santoruvo, E. Matioli, “Nanoplasma-Enabled Picosecond Switches for Ultra-Fast Electronics”, Nature, 579 (7800), 534-539, (2020)