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10 February 2016

Anvil working with UK Manufacturing Technology Centre to develop low-cost hybrid power module

Assisted by a grant from UK Government agency Innovate UK (formerly the Technology Strategy Board), 3C-SiC device developer Anvil Semiconductors Ltd of Coventry, UK, and the UK's Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) – which houses equipment for the demonstration (in partnership with industry, academia and other institutions) of new industrial-scale manufacturing processes and technologies – are developing a low-cost hydrid module to take advantage of the benefits of 3C-SiC (silicon carbide) in a close-coupled low-inductance module that enables high-efficiency power conversion.

Driven by competition, demand and legislation, designers of products are striving for increased efficiency, smaller size and weight, and lower cost, but they are squeezed between the efficiency constraints of silicon and the high costs of existing 4H-SiC devices.

Anvil was spun off in August 2010 from the University of Warwick's School of Engineering by its technology commercialization subsidiary Warwick Ventures Ltd in order to exploit patented developments in SiC power semiconductor technology. The firm's technology enables the growth of device-quality 3C-SiC epitaxy on 100mm-diameter silicon wafers to thicknesses that permit the fabrication of vertical power devices. The proprietary process is said to overcome mismatches in lattice parameter and thermal coefficient of expansion, and can be migrated onto 150mm wafers and potentially beyond.

Anvil's SiC technology is hence claimed to enable the development of devices with the efficiency and size benefits of SiC but at the cost of silicon. However, the benefits that can be delivered through using SiC devices are limited by the switching speeds that are often restricted by the inductances introduced by non-close coupling of discrete devices and ancillaries.

Anvil and MTC are using 3C-SiC devices and the most recent low-cost packaging techniques to develop a low-cost hybrid module to allow close coupling of devices and ancillaries, reduce inductances and achieve switching speeds of 100kHz. The use of 3C-SiC is said to provide reduced resistive losses and low sensitivity of device characteristics to temperature, enabling close coupling of components. This delivers increased efficiencies and reduced size and weight by removing the need for some ancillary components and heat sinks. Market opportunities for such a module exist across a wide range of applications including LED lighting, photovoltaic converters, general power supplies, electric car charging, and electric vehicles/hybrid electric vehicles (EV/HEV), says Anvil.

See related items:

Anvil involved in £9.5m UK project to develop SiC-based technology to modernize grid

Anvil transfers its 3C-SiC on silicon wafer production to Norstel

Anvil awarded TSB grant to grow high-quality GaN on 3C-SiC on large-diameter silicon

Anvil gains £1m funding to commercialize low-cost SiC-in-silicon power devices

Warwick spins off Anvil to develop smaller, more efficient SiC-based power converters

Tags: SiC-on-Si substrates

Visit: www.the-mtc.org

Visit: www.anvil-semi.co.uk

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