1 June 2020
SUNY Poly professor receives $625,000 DOE funding for NREL-led research to reduce SiC power electronics manufacturing costs
State University of New York (SUNY) Polytechnic Institute says that associate professor of nanoengineering Dr Woongje Sung has been awarded $625,000 in funding from the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office as part of a collaborative research effort with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Led by NREL, the research is expected to be carried out during the next two-and-a-half years.
Leveraging SUNY Poly’s capabilities, the research aims to reduce the cost of manufacturing silicon carbide (SiC)-based power devices, for use in high-performance applications (e.g. automotive, industrial, aeronautical). SiC-based power devices are currently more expensive to fabricate than the more conventional silicon (Si)-based chips that, because of their inherent properties, are unable to support operations in more extreme heat, and which are also less energy efficient.
The research will concurrently support hands-on opportunities for at least one SUNY Poly graduate student and post-doctoral researcher who will take part in the design of the SiC-based devices, work directly with the fabrication facility, and characterize the fabricated devices.
The DOE award will “help to catalyze a more cost-effective manufacturing process for SiC power devices, in concert with SUNY Poly’s top-tier academic and high-tech research ecosystem,” says SUNY Poly’s interim president Dr Grace Wang.
“By laying the groundwork for a more efficient and cost-effective fabrication process for SiC-based power devices, Dr Sung is driving advancements in a wide range of power electronics applications which are the backbone of countless technologies that we rely on,” comments SUNY Poly’s interim dean of the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) Dr André Melendez.
“Our SUNY Poly team, including a graduate student and a post-doctoral researcher, is undertaking this project to evaluate various options for the creation of critical manufacturing process steps that can lead to lower-cost SiC devices, in order to address a significant barrier to the mass adoption of SiC power devices as compared to conventional silicon devices,” says Sung.
The DOE Advanced Manufacturing Office award follows $2,103,000 in funding that Sung recently received from the DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) as part of a collaborative research effort with teams from Ohio State University and North Carolina State University. As part of that effort, Sung aims to develop scalable, manufacturable and robust technology (SMART) for silicon carbide power integrated circuits (SMART SiC Power ICs) that open the door to robust switching capabilities in a range of high-performance energy applications, including automotive and industrial, as well as for electronic data processing and energy harvesting.