Silicon Carbide Semiconductors
Development of Silicon Carbide Semiconducting Material for a new Generation of Radiation Hardened and High Temperature Sensors and Electronics.
Tech Area / Field
- MAT-ELE/Organic and Electronics Materials/Materials
8 Project completed
Senior Project Manager
Komarkov D A
St Petersburg Electrotechnical University, Russia, St Petersburg
- Physical and Technical Institute of Silicon-Carbide Structure, Russia, St Petersburg
- University of Linköping, Sweden, Linköping\nSiemens AG, Germany, Erlangen\nOKMETIC Ltd, Finland, Espoo\nSandia National Laboratories, USA, NM, Albuquerque
Project summaryThe purpose of the project is to develop a new generation of high temperature and radiation hardened sensors and electronics. Studies and market surveys have shown that a need exists in the commercial sectors around the world for high temperature and or radiation hardened sensors and electronics which can operate up to 600 °C, a fluence of 1016 n/cm2. and a total dose of several hundred megarad. Applications for high temperature and/or radiation hardened electronics include electronics mounted on internal combustion engines and jet turbines (automotive and aircraft industries), power electronics used for all-electric automobiles and all-electric control of aircraft, high speed power electronics for radar and power conditioning, signal processing and power electronics for geothermal exploration and oil well logging, monitoring electronics for high temperature food processing and chemical processing plants, electronics for environmental analysis and restoration of nuclear and chemical wastes and instrumentation and control systems for commercial reactors and space reactors. Currently available commercial electronics can function adequately to 150 °C, 1014 n/cm2, and up to several Mrad. Initial studies show that silicon carbide based electronics have the potential to operate at temperatures as high as 650 °C and in radiation environments several orders of magnitude more severe than silicon based commercial electronics.
This project will address the ISTC's objectives by funding SPETU and FTIKKS scientists, engineers, and technicians to produce silicon carbide based electronic materials and sensors which can be applied to the commercial and civil needs listed above, he research staff will be able to carry out both basic and applied research to develop silicon carbide electronic materials technology which can be applied for peaceful purposes in environmental protection, energy production. nuclear reactor safety, and other commercial industries such as the automotive and aircraft industries. Funding of this project will allow the research staff to collaborate and work jointly with private companies interested in developing silicon carbide based electronics for commercial applications. Successful development and commercial applications of silicon carbide based materials, sensors, and electronics will ensure the development of long term career opportunities in the civilian sector and will strengthen the scientific research and development capacity of the Russian institutions.
Westinghouse and Sandia National Laboratories have met with SPETU and FTIKKS to discuss future joint activities in research and development of SiC materials and sensors. Westinghouse, Sandia, SPETU and FTIKKS jointly agreed that Westinghouse and Sandia would evaluate SiC material and sensors developed under the ISTC proposal; Westinghouse and Sandia would recommend changes to improve the material and sensors throughout the duration of the project. Westinghouse and Sandia will also seek to implement other proposals to develop SiC as an augmentation to the activities of the ISTC proposal. Perhaps the European and Japanese companies will be to test of samples and would recommend change characteristic of growing crystals of the project also.
There is interest in development of SiC electronics materials in: France — Thomson CSF, Merlin Gerin; Germany — Siemens, Daimler-Benz, Bosch; Sweden — ABB; Japan — Sanyo, Sharp, Nissan, NKK Steal, Sumitomo; USA — Westinghouse, General Electric, NASA, CREE, ATM etc.
The scope of activity will involve developing high quality and purity silicon carbide wafers with a minimum of defects and unintentionally introduced impurities. Studies will also concentrate on developing processes to dope the wafers during growth t create wafers with various electrophysical properties. High quality wafers are the foundation upon which transistors and sensors can be fabricated. The technical and methodological approach to achieving the objective is based upon continued improvement of the modified sublimation technique, an existing silicon carbide wafer growth process. Silicon carbide sensors which can monitor radiation, temperature, and pressure will also be developed and fabricated.
Expected scientific results will include understanding defect forming mechanisms during silicon carbide growth, how the sources of unwanted impurities are included during wafer growth, and conditions which are necessary to obtain doping at desired levels and with desired uniformity across and through the wafer. These results will be summarized as a series of process steps to grow silicon carbide wafers.
The development of high quality wafers will have immediate commercial significance. Silicon carbide sensors, transistors, and integrated circuits must be grown on high quality wafers. Development of high quality wafers will allow development of high quality electronics. These wafers can also be sold to companies interested in fabricating silicon carbide transistors and sensors but who do not have the capability to produce silicon carbide wafers. The development of high quality sensors will also have immediate commercial significance; sensors which can operate in the severe environments described above can be applied to the market place immediately.