PITA Fiscal Year 2008 Projects - Product and Process Design and Optimization

Silicon Carbide-Based High-Temperature Electronics and Sensors

Principal Investigators: Robert F. Davis, Lisa M. Porter, David N. Lambeth

A program of integrated interdisciplinary research involving investigators at CMU and Caracal, Inc. and concerned with the development and testing of (1) silicon carbide (SiC)-based high-voltage and high current metal oxide field effect transistors (MOSFETs) and bipolar junction transistors (BJTs) for motor drives and controls operable at high temperatures (≥260°C), (2) SiC-based high-temperature accelerometers and gamma ray detectors and (3) ohmic and Schottky contacts for these electronic devices and sensors that do not degrade at elevated temperatures is proposed. This research, if funded, will address the rapidly growing need for high-temperature devices and sensors for very deep submergence petroleum exploration and recovery as well as monitoring and control within aircraft and automobile engines and metal and glass manufacturing facilities wherein melting of the raw materials and/or hot working of the poured material are integral components of the manufacturing process. The key to the development of very high temperature electronics is the development of both MOS and bipolar-type FET devices. Moreover, these two types of devices will be applicable for both the motor-related applications and the electronics for the proposed sensors. SiC-based devices exceed the capabilities and limitations of Si-based power devices with blocking voltages that are ~10 times greater, increased switching frequency, lower switching losses, much higher operating temperatures and are capable of current densities that are 3-to-4 times higher. Caracal, Inc. will provide the necessary polished SiC substrates on which the CMU investigators will grow the materials structures. Contacts will be deposited on these structures, and the devices and sensors noted above will be subsequently fabricated and tested. Background and > 40 years of cumulative experience in the production of electronic SiC, the fabrication of high-temperature contacts and the fabrication of SiC devices qualify the investigators at both Caracal and CMU for the conduct of the proposed research.