Raytheon UK’s semiconductor business unit in Glenrothes, Scotland, has embarked on a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project, in conjunction with researchers at Newcastle University, to enhance the performance of Silicon Carbide (SiC) electronic devices, specifically for Raytheon’s own SiC CMOS process.
KTPs are supported by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency. Raytheon UK’s KTP with Newcastle University is studying, in considerable depth, the characteristics of the interface between SiC and Silicon Dioxide (SiO2); the region which critically impacts on the performance of a Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor Field Effect Transistor (MOSFET), a fundamental building block of electronic circuits.
Defects known as ‘traps’ in the interface between the two semiconductor materials affect the threshold voltage and maximum current that a MOSFET can handle. John Kennedy, head of Raytheon UK’s Integrated Power Solutions, commented: “Interface defects represent a significant obstacle in the mass adoption of Silicon Carbide technology in a wide range of sectors, such as aerospace, automotive, rail and energy, in which increasingly high performance devices are required.”
A detailed understanding of the interface behaviour will enable Raytheon UK to optimise its manufacturing processes to minimise the occurrence of traps, resulting in not only higher performance devices for its own power-module devices, products and systems but also for those customers using the company’s foundry services.
Interim findings of the KTP project, and other high temperature SiC CMOS integrated circuit studies, will be presented at ECSCRM 2014 in Grenoble, 21st to 25th September.
In the long-term, the project will publish results on the development of characterisation metrics for the SiC/SiO2 interface, modelling of the impacts of defects on the observed MOSFET characterisations, short loop trials of novel oxide structures and processing, full CMOS wafer integration of the optimised oxide structures and evolutionary repetition of the process optimisation and characterisation to continue the development process.
Kennedy, concluded: “The study with Newcastle University is an exciting addition to our day-to-day business. Our foundry remains open to support Silicon Carbide power device development programmes across the globe. Customers at any part of the product development cycle can benefit from our experience and proven ability to take SiC device designs and processes through development stages to full production.”