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Power Electronics & Silicon Carbide

A specialised laboratory includes a semiconductor Class 1000 cleanroom, humidity controlled, with a yellow room for photolithography capable of one micron lithography and a suite of processing equipment. The laboratory provides for research into the materials physics and device fabrication technology of silicon carbide. It also functions as an incubator unit for development of new device concepts and prototype devices for the power electronics systems community, both academic and industrial.Silicon carbide (SiC) offers major advantages in electronics due to its exceptional material properties. SiC is able to operate at much higher voltages and temperatures than silicon.

SiC devices enable a substantial reduction in the size and weight of power electronic modules wherever they are used because of their high power efficiency and the ability to run at higher frequencies and temperatures than Si devices. There are numerous potential applications in various sectors including: power generation, power conversion, aerospace and automotive and smart grid development.

The processing equipment includes:

  • High temperature furnace: a unique custom vertical design aimed at high quality gate oxides on SiC in a new temperature regime up to 1500°C and implant annealing 100 mm wafers in Argon up to 1800°C
  • A metal contact formation furnace capable of 1000°C specifically for SiC processing
  • Inductively coupled plasma dry etcher: low ion energy for good mask selectivity and minimum physical damage, but high rate etching of SiC, Si, SiO2, Si3N4 using fluorinated gases
  • Low Pressure SiO2 deposition: a TEOS based system which will deposit high quality field oxides to avoid the need to grow thick oxides on SiC
  • A 1:1 stepper and associated coater/developer capable of 0.75 micron lithography