27 May 2011

SPTS and Griffith University to develop SiC-on-Si technology

SPP Process Technology Systems Ltd (SPTS) of Newport, Wales, UK, the plasma etch, deposition and thermal processing equipment subsidiary of Sumitomo Precision Products Co Ltd (SPP), and Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia have announced a three-year joint development agreement (JDA) targeting the commercialization of silicon carbide (SiC) on silicon (Si) technology. SiC-on-Si substrates have a wide variety of applications for the rapidly growing light-emitting diode (LED), micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) and power markets.

As well as being a key substrate for growing the GaN films used to manufacture LEDs, the increased radiation hardness, mechanical strength and thermal properties of SiC also make it a suitable replacement for silicon in MEMS devices for harsh environments. SiC is also used to create semiconductor devices for high-power, high-frequency applications, where the electrical properties of SiC are significantly superior to common silicon.

Technology created by the research team at Queensland Microtechnology Facility (QMF) at the Griffith University’s Queensland Micro- and Nanotechnology Centre (QMNC) has demonstrated the ability to grow crystalline SiC directly onto low-cost silicon wafers. Funded by Queensland State Government and Australia's National Fabrication Facility, QMF houses a large silicon wafer fabrication processing capability and enables R&D of SiC-on-Si material for mechanical and semiconductor devices. Through the JDA and via its APCVD and thermal products subsidiary SPP Process Technology Systems Inc of San Jose, CA, USA, SPTS will develop the thermal process and equipment expertise necessary to commercialize the technology.

Three key technologies required for SiC-on-Si devices are SiC deposition, etch and oxidation. The QMNC has commercially orientated research into all these areas. “The JDA enables transfer of this SiC deposition process technology to device research and development activities, and provides a bridge to volume production through batch processing for up to 300mm-diameter Si wafers,” says QMNC’s operations director Alan Iacopi. “SPTS’s strength in thermal processing makes them an attractive partner,” he adds. “This JDA is an important step in the commercialization of our SiC research efforts, especially with a partner with the global reach of SPTS,” agrees project leader Sima Dimitrijev, deputy director of QMNC.

“Providing production knowledge to this collaboration and helping to develop and deliver new materials processing technology is an important business strategy,” says SPTS’ president & CEO William Johnson. “This JDA further enhances the portfolio of offerings to our served markets and will help to broaden our customer base,” he adds.

Tags: SPTS SiC-on-Si substrates

Visit: www.griffith.edu.au/qmnc

Visit: www.spp-pts.com

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