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UK Compound Semiconductor Centre Joins EU Metrology Project

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CSC joins €1.7M project to develop and apply new metrological tools for quality control of wide bandgap semiconductors

The UK's Compound Semiconductor Centre (CSC), has announced its participation in in PowerElec, a new €1.7M project within the European Metrology Programme for Innovation and Research (EMPIR - EURAMET) running from June 2021 to May 2024, to develop and apply new metrological tools for quality control of wide bandgap semiconductors.

The next generation of power electronics will be driven by the shift from Silicon to wide bandgap compound semiconductors (GaN, SiC, and in future, Gallium Oxide). These materials offer huge performance benefits in terms of efficiency, weight, high-frequency and high-temperature performance over current Silicon-based solutions. However, their sensitivity to nanoscale material defects presents a barrier to upscaling and commercial adoption. The project will develop new instrumentation, non-destructive measurement methods and agreed standards for the characterisation of wafer quality at multiple levels in the material and device fabrication process.

The project is led by the UK National Physical Laboratory, with key European Industry partners (Infineon, IQE, Aixtron, CSC) as well as other national metrology institutes and international standards organisations to support the growth of European compound semiconductor supply chains.

Rob Harper, GaN programme manager at CSC commented: "Metrology is often undervalued in a transition from development to commercialisation, but it is critical to have comprehensive metrology to support yield and cost control when scaling new semiconductor technologies. The activity will compliment CSCs activities in GaN-on-SiC and GaN-on-Silicon RF and Power epitaxial products, which include lateral HEMTs and vertical trench FETs."

Wyn Meredith, director of CSC added "The UK has a leading position in compound semiconductor materials technology, centred on the South Wales CSconnected Cluster, and we are pleased to be part of a new European ecosystem to address high-growth segments in a global power electronics market worth in excess of $35B per annum".

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