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Warwick University Welcomes 1800C furnace for SiC Device Development

The £10.5m Energy Efficiency project will see the furnace being used to push the boundaries of what is known about SiC and how it functions under such intense temperatures.

 Snow may be hampering Christmas deliveries but it has failed to stop the delivery of University Warwick's Phil Mawby's Christmas present - a special furnace that can reach 1800 degrees centigrade.

The weather outside may be frightful, but this furnace will raise temperatures in Mawby's lab to a blistering 1800oC, 500oC higher than traditional silicon furnaces. It will be used to make Power Semiconductor devices in Silicon Carbide (SiC), a material which is revolutionizing electrical energy management.

Taking delivery of the new furnace this week, Mawby said, "We are delighted to have this new furnace; it will allow us to really push the boundaries of what we know about silicon carbide and how it functions under such intense temperatures. This will allow us as a university to make great strides in developing the material for use in energy management and hopefully find a means of using the material to run electrical energy in a much more efficient manner."

"Silicon Carbide is the next-generation semiconducting material. It is very similar to silicon but a much smaller piece of the material can perform the same functionality, meaning space and weight are saved, and less heat is lost."

This new equipment has been funded by the Science City Research Alliance (SCRA) Energy Efficiency Project. The Energy Efficiency Project is part of a larger investment by Advantage West Midlands and the European Regional Development Fund in the research infrastructure of the West Midlands region, which unites the University of Birmingham and the University of Warwick in a strategic research partnership – SCRA – formed under the Birmingham Science City initiative.

The £10.5m Energy Efficiency project has already invested £1.8m in a state of the art cleanroom at the University of Warwick which has the capability to manufacture the complete Silicon Carbide device process.
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