Semiconductors that Improve Electricity Flow

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OPEN 2012
Morrisville, North Carolina
Project Term:
02/05/2013 - 05/31/2016

Technology Description:

HexaTech is developing new semiconductors for electrical switches that will more efficiently control the flow of electricity across high-voltage electrical lines. A switch helps control electricity: switching it on and off, converting it from one voltage to another, and converting it from an Alternating Current (A/C) to a Direct Current (D/C) and back. Most switches today use silicon or silicon-based semiconductors, which are not able to handle high voltages, fast switching speeds, or high operating temperatures. HexaTech has developed highest quality, single crystalline Aluminum Nitride (AlN) semiconductor wafers. HexaTech AlN wafers are the enabling platform for power converters which can handle 50 times more voltage than silicon, as well as higher switching speeds and operating temperatures.

Potential Impact:

If successful, HexaTech’s new semiconductors would significantly improve electric power transmission and create a more efficient and reliable grid.


This project could contribute to a smarter, more reliable, more advanced, and more secure electric grid.


More efficient power conversion could help reduce U.S. electricity consumption, and in turn reduce the harmful emissions created by coal-fired power plants.


Efficient and affordable grid-scale power converters could help lower power bills for average consumers.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Timothy Heidel
Project Contact:
Dr. Baxter Moody
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:


North Carolina State University

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