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US Army grants will help build Arkansas SiC facility


$5.4 million will pay for cutting-edge equipment and train the next generation of researchers and engineers

More than $5 million in total funding from the US Army Research Office and the Army Research Laboratory will go toward a unique SiC fabrication facility at the University of Arkansas.

The grants — $4.5 million from the Army Research Office and $900,000 from the Army Research Laboratory — come on the heels of an $18 million grant from the National Science Foundation to fund construction and operation of the unique national fabrication facility.

Alan Mantooth, distinguished professor of electrical engineering, is principal investigator for both grants.

The Army Research Office grant will be used for equipment, and the Army Research Laboratory grant for student and staff compensation, tuition and materials for supporting collaborative research activities with the Army Research Lab.

Combining cutting-edge equipment and infrastructure with a core of research experts focused on SiC semiconductor devices, sensors and integrated circuits, the fabrication facility will develop new electronics to address areas of national defence.

The facility will also train the next generation of semiconductor researchers and engineers who can work in both the silicon and SiC semiconductor industries. Students at all degree levels will be given research opportunities and be exposed to a high-need area of science and technology. The research will engage underrepresented students in this new and burgeoning area of electronics.

With now decades of experience working with SiC, Mantooth will lead a team that will acquire, install and integrate cutting-edge equipment for the purpose of building a low-volume prototyping facility to produce SiC integrated circuits.

In addition to Mantooth (pictured far right), researchers on this project include (L to R above) Zhong Chen, associate professor of electrical engineering; Greg Salamo, distinguished professor of physics; and Shannon Davis, business and operations manager in the Department of Electrical Engineering.

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