Gallium Nitride (GaN) Semiconductors

Topics Covered

Chemical Properties
Electrical Properties
Thermal, Mechanical and Optical Properties
Safety Information


Gallium nitride (GaN) is a direct bandgap semiconductor belonging to the III-V group and used commonly in light emitting diodes. The compound is very hard, and has a Wurtzite crystal structure. It has a wide band gap of 3.4 eV enabling it to be used in optoelectronic, high-frequency and high-power applications.


The applications of gallium nitride are:

  • It has a low sensitivity to ionizing radiations hence suitable for solar arrays in satellites

  • It is also suited for space and military applications as devices have been observed to be stable in radiation environments.

  • Blu-ray discs are read using GaN-based violet laser diodes. When doped with manganese, GaN is a promising spintronics material.

  • Mixing GaN with In or Al enables manufacture of LEDs with a range of colors from red to the ultra-violet.

  • Gallium nitride-based MOSFET and MESFET transistors are useful for high power electronics especially electric car and automotive applications.

  • GaN nanotubes are used for nanoscale electronics, biochemical sensing and optoelectronics applications.

  • They are also useful as active electronically scanned array radars

Chemical Properties

The chemical properties of gallium nitride are:

Chemical Properties
Chemical Formula GaN
Molecular Weight 83.73
CAS No. 25617-97-4
IUPAC Name Gallium nitride
Group III-IV
Band Gap 3.4 eV
Band Gap Type Direct
Crystal Structure Wurtzite, Zinc Blende
Symmetry Group C6v4-P63mc
Lattice Constant a = 3.186 Å, c = 5.186 Å

Electrical Properties

The electrical properties of gallium nitride are

Electrical Properties
Intrinsic Carrier Concentration 1x1010 cm-3
Electron Mobility ≤ 1000 cm2 V-1 s-1
Hole Mobility ≤ 350 cm2 V-1 s-1
Electron Diffusion Coefficient ≤ 25 cm2 s-1
Hole Diffusion Coefficient ≤ 9 cm2 s-1

Thermal, Mechanical and Optical Properties

The thermal, mechanical and optical properties of gallium nitride are:

Mechanical Properties
Melting Point >2500 °C
Density 6.15 g cm-3
Bulk Modulus 20.4 x 1011 dyn cm-2
Specific Heat (@ 298 K) 0.49 J g-1 K-1
Thermal Properties
Thermal Conductivity 1.3 W cm-1 °C-1
Thermal Diffusivity 0.43 cm2 s-1
Thermal Expansion Coefficient 3.17x10-6 °C-1
Optical Properties
Refractive Index (589 nm @ 293 K) 2.29
Radiative Recombination Coefficient (@ 300 K) 1.1x10-8 cm3 s-1

Safety Information

Safety Information
Hazard Statements H317 – May cause an allergic skin reaction
Safety Precautions S 22 – Do not breathe dust
S24 – Avoid contact with skin
S25 - Avoid contact with eyes



Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    ESPI Metals. (2013, August 19). Gallium Nitride (GaN) Semiconductors. AZoM. Retrieved on October 23, 2020 from

  • MLA

    ESPI Metals. "Gallium Nitride (GaN) Semiconductors". AZoM. 23 October 2020. <>.

  • Chicago

    ESPI Metals. "Gallium Nitride (GaN) Semiconductors". AZoM. (accessed October 23, 2020).

  • Harvard

    ESPI Metals. 2013. Gallium Nitride (GaN) Semiconductors. AZoM, viewed 23 October 2020,

Tell Us What You Think

Do you have a review, update or anything you would like to add to this article?

Leave your feedback