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Australia funds silicon carbide chip production

Griffith University researchers win Aus$1million from government and work with UK equipment maker, SPTS Technologies, to commercialise SiC-on-silicon production.

Australia-based Queensland Micro- and Nanotechnology Centre, Griffith University, has won Aus$1million in funding from the Queensland State Government to develop production processes for silicon carbide microchips. The research centre has been developing SiC-on-silicon substrates for a wide variety of applications including LEDs, micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) and power integrated electronics. According to Professor Sima Dimitrijev, lead researcher at the University's Micro- and Nanotechnology Centre, research breakthroughs include low temperature epitaxy of cubic SiC on Si as well as the development of MOS purity oxides for SiC MOS devices. “The superior properties of silicon carbide enable smaller, more efficient, sensitive and robust devices that can operate in harsh chemical and temperature environments,” he adds. Researchers at the Centre have also been working alongside UK-based semiconductor equipment manufacturer, SPTS Technologies, to commercialise SiC-on-silicon technology. Having demonstrated low temperature epitaxial growth of SiC films directly onto low-cost silicon wafers, the partners intend to develop thermal processing equipment to commercialise the technology. “Our industry partner will help us take the next critical step of making our SiC production processes ready for industry to adopt,” adds Centre operation director, Alan Iacopi. “There is a potentially enormous global market and our breakthroughs have far reaching implications in terms of engaging with international industry and bringing frontier technologies to Queensland.”

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