Porosifying gallium nitride for sensors in outer space

During my two-month research project at the Cambridge Centre for Gallium Nitride in 2018 I contributed to the group’s ongoing investigation into the properties and uses of porous GaN. My work focused on exploring how porosification of the GaN via electrochemical etching could greatly increase the thermal insulation of the GaN. Selective etching would allow for regions of higher thermal insulation to be designed into a device, an attractive feature for space applications. I employed optical and scanning electron microscopy to characterise the pores and developed a model to relate pore size and density to thermal conductivity.

Figure: SEM image of a partially porosified wafer of gallium nitride