Center for Device Thermography and Reliability

Probing RF properties of GaN-based devices

The Center for Device Thermography and Reliability (CDTR), led by Professor Martin Kuball is a world-leading research center focusing on improving the thermal management, electrical performance and reliability of novel devices, circuits and packaging.


A Nikon X-ray and CT Scanner has been donated by Fasetto to the Semiconductor Centre for Device Thermography and Reliability

The School of Physics are excited to have a new Nikon XTV 160 XT-ray and CT Scanner, which will be operated by the Centre for Device Thermography and Reliability (CDTR). This new tool supports CDTR’s research in electronics reliability, in particular device and PCB inspection for failure analysis. The CDTR is a world-leading research center focusing on improving the thermal management, electrical performance and reliability of novel devices, circuits and packaging, in particular in wide and ultra wide bandgap semiconductors, for next generation communication and carbon reducing technologies.


Prof Kuball, FIEEE FInstP, FIET, Fellow of MRS and the Society of Photographic Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE) and Director of the CDTR:

 “This will not only advance our research but also aid us in the training of the next generation of semiconductor device engineers, and is accessible to researchers across the School of Physics as well as throughout the university and external users."

Why do we exist?

In today's fast-moving technological world, semiconductor devices need more ‘muscle power’, but devices must not overheat.

It is projected that the next generation of wireless architecture (5G) will increase data communciation speeds to multiple times that of existing 4G. Semiconductors enable this wireless architecture. Today's devices run too hot, wasting energy and giving them a short operating life time.

Furthermore, if we use today’s technology, by 2035 the planet’s datacentres will cover 6 x the land area of the M25 and use over 40% of global energy production.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) will become the biggest single contributor to climate change. Better semiconductors can help mitigate this.
The world needs new devices which are more energy efficient, that can also run at high powers. This is what we aim to achieve in the CDTR.

To achieve this goal, since 2001 we have been developing and applying new techniques for temperature, thermal conductivity, electrical conductivity and traps analysis, especially for microwave and power electronic semiconductor devices, made of wide bandgap materials, such as GaN, SiC, Gallium Oxide and diamond. Our team of about 20 international researchers and PhD students works with industry and academia from across the globe to develop the next generation of technology for communications, microwave and power electronics to enable the low carbon economy.

 NEWS! Bristol has played a key role in the qualification of gallium nitride (GaN) HEMTs for the European Space Agency (ESA) Biomass mission

The Earth Explorer Biomass will provide global maps of the amount of carbon stored in the world's forests and how this changes over time, mainly through absorbing carbon dioxide, which is released from burning fossil fuels. The Biomass radar transmitter operates at a frequency so low, a vacuum tube amplifier would be too heavy and bulky for the type of satellite envisaged. 

Photo of the earth from space with a satellitePhoto by NASA on Unsplash

Biomass will deploy solid state power amplifiers (SSPAs) using the high-power semiconductor GaN. Using Raman Thermography, Bristol determined the channel temperature in the GaN HEMTs used; this was an essential role in the qualification of these components for this satellite. We are excited to help enable the monitoring of climate change. More details on the qualification of GaN components can be found in 

For further information see: 

EPSRC Programme Grant GaN-DaME

GaN on diamond technology, the next generation technology which will underpin future high power RF and microwave communications and radar systems.


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