Climate Change is affecting the world as we know it. Energy efficiency, a powerful greenhouse gas emissions reduction tool is a key driver both for reducing global warming and our dependency on fossil-fuels. Energy efficiency in itself presents significant challenges for the power electronics industry.
Silicon is a common semiconductor material used by the power electronics industry. Although cheap and easy to work-with, its fundamental material properties (bandgap, critical electric-field etc.) and low energy efficiency limit its suitability for high-power applications. Silicon Carbide (SiC) is a wide bandgap semiconductor which is increasingly replacing Silicon (Si) in applications where better energy efficiency is required, especially for power conversion (AC-to-DC and vice versa).
Pre-existing technology providers in the semiconductor market segment typically use expensive bulk SiC substrates (4H-SiC or 6H-SiC) and the SiC devices currently available are expensive to manufacture. Until now the demand for these products has been limited to high-end applications that silicon devices are simply unsuitable for or where performance outweighs cost.
Our technology at Tyndall is different; it uses hybrid SiC-on-Si substrates (a thin layer of 3C-SiC deposited onto an inexpensive Si wafer) which offers the potential for much lower production and packaging costs and the opportunity to target a much larger market in sectors where the currently available SiC devices are just too expensive for systems manufacturers.
Currently, there is a worldwide shortage of SiC substrate and device-production capacity, due-to the recent surge in demand for electric vehicle and renewable energy sectors. By offering an alternative route for device production, which can leverage existing Si foundries (and use the older 100 mm / 150 mm diameter production-lines which are in less demand for the Si-CMOS market), we will discover new opportunities in specific market segments.
The market for SiC devices is growing for the benefit of a greener world and is expected to grow at CAGR of 31% to > $1.5 billion by 2023, with growth driven primarily by the electric vehicles sector.
This project aims to demonstrate proof-of-concept 650V SBD devices fabricated with a novel processing sequence on proprietary hybrid 3C-SiC / Si substrates, with performance equivalent to commercial devices already on the market.
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