Gordon Moore one of the co-founders of Intel famously observed in 1965 that transistors were shrinking so fast that every year twice as many could fit onto a chip.
In 1975 that statement was adjusted to a doubling every two years. Today, we now recognize that as Moore’s Law.
In a 2016 article by Fortune.com David Morris reported on findings from ARS Technica that:
“computer scientists have become increasingly convinced that we’re nearing the limit of what we can do with silicon”
Meaning, that the current material (Silicon) has been pushed to its limits relative to how much we can shrink semi-conductor transistors and place them on a Silicon chip.
In strides Gallium on its big Bandgap horse… wait what?
Semiconductors have unique properties because of their Bandgap (the distance between their outermost band of electrons and the conduction band)
Check out this cool video from Seeker that explains more in depth.
Gallium Oxide has a larger Bandgap than Silicon which allows for the placement of more transistors.
This field is still in its infancy and there still much to learn about its capabilities, but I always find it amazing what we are capable of when pushed to our limits.
If you would like to learn more, IEEE has an amazing article titled: Gallium Oxide: Power Electronics’ Cool New Flavor