23 December 2010

University of Warwick receives 1800ºC furnace for SiC-based power devices

Professor Phil Mawby at the UK’s University Warwick has taken delivery of a furnace that can reach a temperature of 1800ºC (500ºC higher than traditional silicon furnaces), for use in fabricating power semiconductor devices based on silicon carbide (SiC).

“It will allow us to really push the boundaries of what we know about silicon carbide and how it functions under such intense temperatures,” says Mawby of the new furnace. “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,” he adds.

“Silicon carbide is the next-generation semiconducting material,” Mawby continues. “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.”

The new furnace has been funded by the Science City Research Alliance (SCRA) Energy Efficiency Project, which is part of a larger investment by Advantage West Midlands and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) in the research infrastructure of the UK's 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 (a region-wide partnership of public sector, businesses and the research base).

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

Tags: SiC

Visit: www2.warwick.ac.uk

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