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15 September 2014

Raytheon UK and Newcastle University team to investigate SiC interface defects

Raytheon UK’s semiconductor business unit in Glenrothes, Scotland, UK has embarked on a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project, in conjunction with researchers at Newcastle University, to enhance the performance of silicon carbide (SiC) electronic devices, specifically for Raytheon’s own SiC CMOS process.

KTPs are supported by Innovate UK (formerly the Technology Strategy Board), the UK’s innovation agency. Raytheon UK’s KTP with Newcastle University is studying the characteristics of the interface between SiC and silicon dioxide (SiO2), which critically impacts on the performance of a metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET).

‘Trap’ defects in the interface between the two materials affect the threshold voltage and maximum current that a MOSFET can handle. “Interface defects represent a significant obstacle in the mass adoption of silicon carbide technology in a wide range of sectors, such as aerospace, automotive, rail and energy, in which increasingly high-performance devices are required,” says John Kennedy, head of Raytheon UK’s Integrated Power Solutions.

Raytheon UK says that a detailed understanding of the interface behavior will enable it to optimize its manufacturing processes to minimize the occurrence of traps, resulting in not only higher-performance devices for its own power modules, products and systems but also for those customers using the firm’s foundry services.

Interim findings of the KTP project, and other high-temperature SiC CMOS integrated circuit studies, will be presented at the European Conference on Silicon Carbide and Related Materials (ECSCRM 2014) in Grenoble, France (21-25 September).

In the long-term, the project aims to publish results on the development of characterization metrics for the SiC/SiO2 interface, modelling of the impacts of defects on the observed MOSFET characterizations, short-loop trials of novel oxide structures and processing, full CMOS wafer integration of the optimized oxide structures and evolutionary repetition of the process optimization and characterization to continue the development process.

“Our foundry remains open to support silicon carbide power device development programs across the globe,” notes Kennedy. “Customers at any part of the product development cycle can benefit from our experience and proven ability to take SiC device designs and processes through development stages to full production.”

Tags: Raytheon SiC Power electronics

Visit: www.raytheon.co.uk/semiconductors

Visit: www.ncl.ac.uk/eee/research/groups/etm/etm-sic.htm

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