Prof. Dr. Dr. Oliver Ambacher

Gips-Schüle Chair for Power Electronics,
Director Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid State Physics IAF

Oliver Ambacher researches and develops energy-efficient, electronic power components.


Vision: Halving energy loss in communications and energy-exchanging systems

Energy efficiency and sustainable power electronics stand at the beginning of a revolutionary development. This development is economically driven by the growing demand for compact electronic power systems, and scientifically furthered by research into new sustainable materials and innovative electronic systems.

To effect the necessary advance in electronic power systems in Germany, existing physical constraints in silicon electronics are being transcended through the development of components made of new semiconductor structures.

Functional semiconductor structures based on materials with large band gaps such as scandium aluminum nitride (ScAIN) and gallium nitride (GaN) possess excellent electronic properties for future power electronics. Their use for processing electronic power components makes possible a considerable improvement in the electrical properties of e.g. voltage transformers and mobile communications.

This begins with the improved output density per component and continues with greater switching speeds, higher operating temperatures and lower forward resistance, which means lower switch loss and more compact systems.

The market for electronic power systems is currently growing rapidly. This is due to increasing automation, digitalization and diversification – particularly in the automotive industry and in energy technologies. According to estimates from management consultancy Roland Berger, just the market for electronics that provides electricity for engine control and enables switching from alternating to direct current will be growing globally at seven percent annually by 2020.


The development of energy-efficient components is the focus of the research


Calculation of physical, solid-state properties using modern software programs (nextnano, Ansys, Comsol …)

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Epitaxy of new layered crystalline structures from semiconductors with large band gaps (GaN, ScAlN, Diamond)

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Processing micro- and nano-scale structures for piezo-acoustic filter components and electronic power transistors

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Design and development of electronic power components for especially energy-efficient systems

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Current research areas by members of the “Power Electronics” (PEL) chair:

Gallium nitride for energy efficient voltage transformers

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Oliver Ambacher graduated in 1989 from the Ludwig Maximilian University with a degree in physics. In 1993, the Technical University of Munich awarded him a doctorate with distinction in Natural Sciences. From 1990, he was supported by the Technical University of Munich’s sponsorship program. In 1993, he took up a position as scientific assistant at the Walter Schottky Institute at the TU Munich, where he researched the growth of gallium nitride and its alloys by means of molecular-beam epitaxy and chemical vapor deposition. From 1995, he focused his research on the processing of GaN-based electronic and optical components. In 1998/99, he was awarded the Feodor Lynen scholarship by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, which enabled him to deepen his work in the area of AlGaN/GaN transistors for high frequency power amplifiers.

After his habilitation in experimental physics in 2000 and a year after his promotion to senior assistant in 2001, he was appointed Professor of Nanotechnology at the Technical University of Ilmenau. In 2002, he was named director of the Institute for Solid-State Electronics and two years later director of the Center for Micro- and Nanotechnologies at the TU Ilmenau. From 2007 to 2016, Oliver Ambacher was Professor for Compound Semiconductors and head of the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid-State Physics. He has been Professor of Power Electronics at the Institute for Sustainable Systems Engineering at the Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg since 2017. In 2015, he received the Karl Heinz Beckurts Prize for developing energy-efficient power amplifiers for fifth-generation mobile networks.


Prof. Dr. Dr. Oliver Ambacher
Tel.: +49 761 203-54090

Gips Schüle Chair for Power Electronics

Albert Ludwigs University Freiburg
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