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SPTS and Australia's Griffith University to develop SiC-on-silicon technology

The three-year collaboration aims to commercialise SiC-on-silicon as a viable semiconductor material for LED, power and MEMS devices.

SPP Process Technology Systems (SPTS), a manufacturer of plasma etch and deposition, and thermal processing equipment for the semiconductor and related industries, and Griffith University in Australia have signed a joint development agreement (JDA) targeting the commercialisation of SiC-on-silicon technology. SiC-on-silicon substrates have a wide variety of applications for the rapidly growing LED, micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) and power markets.

SiC is an important substrate for growing the GaN films used to manufacture LEDs. The increased radiation hardness, mechanical strength and thermal properties of SiC also make it a suitable replacement for silicon in MEMS devices for harsh environments. In addition, SiC is used to create semiconductor devices for high power, high frequency applications where the electrical properties of SiC are significantly superior to common silicon.

Technology created by the research team at Queensland Microtechnology Facility (QMF) at the Griffith University's Queensland Micro- and Nanotechnology Centre (QMNC), has demonstrated the ability to grow crystalline SiC directly onto low cost silicon wafers. Through the JDA, SPTS will develop the thermal process and equipment expertise necessary to commercialise the technology.

Three key technologies required for SiC-on-silicon devices are SiC deposition, etch and oxidation. The QMNC has commercially orientated research into all these areas. "The JDA enables transfer of this SiC deposition process technology to device research and development activities, and provides a bridge to volume production through batch processing for up to 300mm diameter Si wafers. SPTS's strength in thermal processing makes them an attractive partner," said Alan Iacopi, Operations Director of QMNC. "This JDA is an important step in the commercialization of our SiC research efforts, especially with a partner with the global reach of SPTS" agreed Sima Dimitrijev, Project Leader and Deputy Director of QMNC.

"As a market leader in providing capital equipment to the MEMS, LED and Power markets, SPTS is constantly looking at cutting-edge development opportunities. We are very pleased to have this opportunity to work with leading researchers at Griffith University to commercialise their SiC-on-silicon technology," said William Johnson, president and CEO of SPTS. "Providing production knowledge to this collaboration and helping to develop and deliver new materials processing technology is an important business strategy. This JDA further enhances the portfolio of offerings to our served markets and will help to broaden our customer base."
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