Aluminium nitride is a technical ceramic that combines of very high thermal conductivity and excellent electrical insulation properties. This makes aluminium nitride ideal for use in power and microelectronics applications. For example, it is used as a circuit carrier (substrate) in semiconductors or as a heat-sink in LED lighting technology or high-power electronics.
The material is stable to very high temperatures in inert atmospheres. In air, surface oxidation begins above 700°C. A layer of aluminium oxide forms which protects the material up to 1370°C. Aluminium nitride is stable in hydrogen and carbon dioxide atmospheres up to 980°C. The material dissolves slowly in mineral acids, and in strong alkalis. The material can also be slowly broken down with water. Most current applications are in the electronics area where heat removal is important. Research is looking into it as a non-toxic alternative to Beryllia. Metallization methods are used so that Aluminium Nitride can substitute Alumina and Berriylium Oxide in many electronic applications.