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6 May 2015

University of Arkansas wins extra $200,000 NSF grant to further develop high-temperature SiC ICs

Researchers at the University of Arkansas have received an additional $200,000 grant from the US National Science Foundation (NSF) to continue developing silicon carbide (SiC) integrated circuits that can survive and operate at temperatures greater than 300°C (about 600°F).

The ICs serve as the foundation for creating commercial converters within internal combustion engines that convert high-temperature sensor data to digital form for transmission to the vehicle's performance and emissions control computer. The technology should provide more robust data from the engine, enabling better control of the vehicle and greater fuel efficiency.

Led by Distinguished Professor of electrical engineering Alan Mantooth, the research team is one of just a few groups in the USA with extensive experience of designing and fabricating ICs made of silicon carbide, which is more rugged than conventional materials used in electronics, as well as being a good thermal conductor (able to withstand extremely high voltage and temperatures).

For this project, the University of Arkansas researchers are collaborating with Ozark Integrated Circuits of Fayetteville, AK (a developer of ICs for remote sensing and actuation under extreme environmental conditions), which will commercialize the new circuit technology.

Together, the researchers aim to create a prototype of a SiC-based converter that can acquire and process data in harsh environments. They will then evaluate the prototype across temperature variations and test how the converter functions in a harsh, real-world environment by combining the system with ignition sensor technology developed by Ozark. Finally, the team plans to generate a commercial feasibility analysis based on projections of the manufacturing costs of a high volume of silicon carbide. 

See related items:

Arkansas researchers design SiC-based ICs operable at over 350°C

Tags: SiC Power electronics

Visit: www.engr.uark.edu

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