6 October 2011

Raytheon awards UK team for high-temperature SiC technology

Engineers at Uxbridge-based Raytheon UK’s facility in Glenrothes, Scotland have been recognised by parent company Raytheon USA for their research, development and manufacturing expertise in the latest high-temperature silicon carbide (HiTSiC) technology. The team received an Operations Excellence award after being selected from more than 2000 competing innovations from within Raytheon’s global portfolio.

Through advances in SiC wafer processing and individual device design technology, the HiTSiC program has demonstrated the first CMOS transistors operating at more than 300°C. At the European Conference in Silicon Carbide and Related Materials 2010 (ECSCRM) in Oslo, Norway, Raytheon UK’s HiTSiC team demonstrated 10 times higher logic complexity and significantly faster processing than earlier-generation technologies.

Raytheon says that the Scottish-developed HiTSiC technology has the potential to be a ‘game changer’ in aerospace, energy and green-related applications, through enabling CMOS (complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor) integrated circuits and transistors to operate at temperatures of 300-400°C.

Aerospace applications include: more efficient aero engines (where electronic monitoring and control can be developed in-situ in harsher areas of the engine); the transition from hydraulic to electric actuation in aerospace (where higher-temperature-capable power and control electronics can be co-located with the brakes); and aerospace actuation (being driven towards future more-electric aircraft, in order to increase fuel efficiency and lower emissions). New technologies such as HiTSiC also offer the potential of lightweight power through air cooling.

Also, the challenges faced by the oil and gas industry in making ‘deep reserves’ economically viable can potentially be helped by the development of electronics that can withstand 300°C, says Raytheon. This also enables the firm to use the technology in next-generation high-efficiency, low-weight power conversion products.

“This Operations Excellence award is a significant recognition of the technologists and engineers at Raytheon UK who have developed a unique technological capability for Scotland, whilst achieving a world first,” comments Lindsay Roy, MP for Glenrothes. “Raytheon’s cutting-edge capabilities being developed in Scotland will add value and skills to our economy, as the business addresses a new market estimated at more than $40m annually.”

Economic development agency Scottish Enterprise has commended Raytheon’s HiTSiC technology and diversification into new global growth markets. “The role of Scottish Enterprise is to help identify and promote the best opportunities for economic growth within companies like Raytheon UK globally, because Scotland’s engineering capabilities are well regarded in a wide range of technology areas,” says Ian McMahon, head of aerospace, defence and marine at Scottish Enterprise. “Developing a technology for one sector that can then be used in different sectors is where the greatest commercial gain can be achieved,” he adds. “Raytheon is an excellent example of a Scottish inward investor that has invested to gain a world-leading position in enabling technologies. Raytheon’s Scottish engineering team is a vital part of the international technology development work it is undertaking to address new market segments for extreme environment sensors and instrumentation which can be used in areas such as aerospace, oil and gas, and geothermal exploration.”

Tags: Raytheon SiC

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