11 June 2012

Raytheon wins UK funding to develop SiC-on-silicon driver ICs

Raytheon Company of Waltham, MA, USA says that its technology facility in Glenrothes, Scotland, UK has been awarded grant funding by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB, the UK government’s national innovation agency) that will be used to support the further development of low-cost silicon carbide (SiC) solutions.

The firm will receive funding towards the overall cost of its project to develop robust, high-temperature driver circuits for power transistors. New integrated circuit technology is being designed specifically to build improved driver circuits for newly emerging SiC-based power transistors. SiC transistors enable much more efficient power electronics, leading to improved energy efficiency in applications such as oil and gas exploration, energy generation and future electric vehicles, adds the firm. However, the adoption of such devices is being limited by the absence of suitable driver ICs, capable of operation at the elevated temperatures at which the power transistors run.

“As specialists in silicon carbide, Raytheon UK are keeping ahead by developing new processes and high-temperature devices,” says Paul D’Arcy, semiconductor business manager for the Raytheon UK subsidiary. “This funding from the Technology Strategy Board gives us an opportunity to work with our partners in developing circuits on a low-cost SiC substrate,” he adds.

The project will be carried out from October 2012 to September 2015, during which Raytheon UK will work with Anvil Semiconductors Ltd. Anvil was spin off from the University of Warwick in July 2011 and specializes in the manufacture of low-cost SiC power semiconductor devices on 3C-SiC epitaxial layers grown on silicon wafers.

The new technology integrates low-voltage transistors, built in a 3C-SiC epitaxial layer, grown on a silicon wafer. Such technology has the potential to offer good performance, excellent high-temperature capability, and much lower cost than other SiC alternatives, reckons Raytheon. The innovative steps include the development of the 3C-SiC on silicon hetero-epitaxy, the development of the 3C-SiC IC process, and the design and development of a demonstrator driver IC.

See related items:

UK funds compound semiconductor R&D projects

Tags: Raytheon SiC-on-silicon driver ICs

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