Nav: Home

New manufacturing process for SiC power devices opens market to more competition

September 13, 2017

Researchers from North Carolina State University are rolling out a new manufacturing process and chip design for silicon carbide (SiC) power devices, which can be used to more efficiently regulate power in technologies that use electronics. The process - called PRESiCE - was developed with support from the PowerAmerica Institute funded by the Department of Energy to make it easier for companies to enter the SiC marketplace and develop new products.

"PRESiCE will allow more companies to get into the SiC market, because they won't have to initially develop their own design and manufacturing process for power devices - an expensive, time-consuming engineering effort," says Jay Baliga, Distinguished University Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at NC State and lead author of a paper on PRESiCE that will be presented later this month. "The companies can instead use the PRESiCE technology to develop their own products. That's good for the companies, good for consumers, and good for U.S. manufacturing."

Power devices consist of a diode and transistor, and are used to regulate the flow of power in electrical devices. For decades, electronics have used silicon-based power devices. In recent years, however, some companies have begun using SiC power devices, which have two key advantages.

First, SiC power devices are more efficient, because SiC transistors lose less power. Conventional silicon transistors lose 10 percent of their energy to waste heat. SiC transistors lose only 7 percent. This is not only more efficient, but means that product designers need to do less to address cooling for the devices.

Second, SiC devices can also switch at a higher frequency. That means electronics incorporating SiC devices can have smaller capacitors and inductors - allowing designers to create smaller, lighter electronic products.

But there's a problem.

Up to this point, companies that have developed manufacturing processes for creating SiC power devices have kept their processes proprietary - making it difficult for other companies to get into the field. This has limited the participation of other companies and kept the cost of SiC devices high.

The NC State researchers developed PRESiCE to address this bottleneck, with the goal of lowering the barrier of entry to the field for companies and increasing innovation.

The PRESiCE team worked with a Texas-based foundry called X-Fab to implement the manufacturing process and have now qualified it - showing that it has the high yield and tight statistical distribution of electrical properties for SiC power devices necessary to make them attractive to industry.

"If more companies get involved in manufacturing SiC power devices, it will increase the volume of production at the foundry, significantly driving down costs," Baliga says.

Right now, SiC devices cost about five times more than silicon power devices.

"Our goal is to get it down to 1.5 times the cost of silicon devices," Baliga says. "Hopefully that will begin the 'virtuous cycle': lower cost will lead to higher use; higher use leads to greater production volume; greater production volume further reduces cost, and so on. And consumers are getting a better, more energy-efficient product."

The researchers have already licensed the PRESiCE process and chip design to one company, and are in talks with several others.

"I conceived the development of wide bandgap semiconductor (SiC) power devices in 1979 and have been promoting the technology for more than three decades," Baliga says. "Now, I feel privileged to have created PRESiCE as the nation's technology for manufacturing SiC power devices to generate high-paying jobs in the U.S. We're optimistic that our technology can expedite the commercialization of SiC devices and contribute to a competitive manufacturing sector here in the U.S.," Baliga says.

The paper, "PRESiCE: PRocess Engineered for manufacturing SiC Electronic-devices," will be presented at the International Conference on Silicon Carbide and Related Materials, being held Sept. 17-22 in Washington, D.C. The paper is co-authored by W. Sung, now at State University of New York Polytechnic Institute; K. Han and J. Harmon, who are Ph.D. students at NC State; and A. Tucker and S. Syed, who are undergraduates at NC State.
-end-
The work was supported by PowerAmerica, the Department of Energy-funded manufacturing innovation institute that focuses on boosting manufacturing of wide bandgap semiconductor-based power electronics.

North Carolina State University

Related Silicon Articles:

To e-, or not to e-, the question for the exotic 'Si-III' phase of silicon
It would be difficult to overestimate the importance of silicon when it comes to computing, solar energy, and other technological applications.
Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets -- an alternative to graphene
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene.
Bringing silicon to life
Living organisms have been persuaded to make chemical bonds not found in nature, a finding that may change how medicines and other chemicals are made in the future.
Bringing carbon-silicon bonds to life
Following a few tweaks, heme proteins can efficiently catalyze the formation of carbon-silicon bonds, which are not found in any known biological molecules, nor capable of being created through any existing biological processes.
What a twist: Silicon nanoantennas turn light around
Scientists at MIPT and their colleagues from ITMO University and the University of Texas at Austin have developed a nonlinear nanoantenna that can be used to scatter light in a desired direction by varying its intensity.
Obtaining of silicon nanowires becomes eco-friendly
Scientists from the Faculty of Physics, the Lomonosov Moscow State University have devised a technique of silicon nanowires synthesis.
Recharging on stable, amorphous silicon
Next-generation anodes for lithium ion batteries will probably no longer be made of graphite.
More stable qubits in perfectly normal silicon
The power of future quantum computers stems from the use of qubits, or quantum bits.
Silicon nanoparticles trained to juggle light
Silicon nanoparticles based devices would allow to transmit, reflect, or scatter incident light in a specified direction, depending on its intensity.
New silicon structures could make better biointerfaces
A team of researchers have engineered silicon particles one-fiftieth the width of a human hair, which could lead to 'biointerface' systems designed to make nerve cells fire and heart cells beat.

Related Silicon Reading:

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup
by John Carreyrou (Author)

The full inside story of the breathtaking rise and shocking collapse of Theranos, the multibillion-dollar biotech startup, by the prize-winning journalist who first broke the story and pursued it to the end, despite pressure from its charismatic CEO and threats by her lawyers.

"Crime thriller authors have nothing on Carreyrou's exquisite sense of suspenseful pacing and multifaceted character development in this riveting, read-in-one-sitting tour de force....Carreyrou's commitment to unraveling Holmes' crimes was literally of life-saving value." -Booklist


In 2014,... View Details


Troublemakers: Silicon Valley's Coming of Age
by Leslie Berlin (Author)

The richly told narrative of the Silicon Valley generation that launched five major high-tech industries in seven years, laying the foundation for today’s technology-driven world.

At a time when the five most valuable companies on the planet are high-tech firms and nearly half of Americans say they cannot live without their cell phones, Troublemakers reveals the untold story of how we got here. This is the gripping tale of seven exceptional men and women, pioneers of Silicon Valley in the 1970s and early 1980s. Together, they worked across generations, industries, and... View Details


Sophia of Silicon Valley: A Novel
by Anna Yen (Author)

Sharp, dramatic, and full of insider dish, SOPHIA OF SILICON VALLEY is one woman’s story of a career storming the corridors of geek power and living in the shadow of its outrageous cast of maestros.

During the heady years of the tech boom, incorrigibly frank Sophia Young lucks into a job that puts her directly in the path of Scott Kraft, the eccentric CEO of Treehouse, a studio whose animated films are transforming movies forever. Overnight, Sophia becomes an unlikely nerd whisperer. Whether her success is due to dumb luck, savage assertiveness, insightful finesse (learned... View Details


Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys' Club of Silicon Valley
by Emily Chang (Author)

Instant National Bestseller

"Excellent." --San Francisco Chronicle

"Brotopia is more than a business book. Silicon Valley holds extraordinary power over our present lives as well as whatever utopia (or nightmare) might come next." --New York Times

Silicon Valley is a modern utopia where anyone can change the world. Unless you're a woman.


For women in tech, Silicon Valley is not a fantasyland of unicorns, virtual reality rainbows, and 3D-printed lollipops, where millions of dollars grow on trees. It's a "Brotopia,"... View Details


From Silk to Silicon: The Story of Globalization Through Ten Extraordinary Lives
by Jeffrey E. Garten (Author)

The story of globalization, the most powerful force in history, as told through the life and times of ten people who changed the world by their singular, spectacular accomplishments.

This is the first book to look at the history of globalization through the lens of individuals who did something transformative, as opposed to describing globalization through trends, policies, or particular industries. From Silk to Silicon tells the story of who these men and women were, what they did, how they did it and how their achievements continue to shape our world today. They... View Details


Finding God in Silicon Valley--Spiritual Journeys in a High-Tech World
by Skip Vaccarello (Author)

Finding God in Silicon Valley tells how God is working in the lives of people in Silicon Valley--venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, leaders of major companies, innovators in non-profit start-ups, scientists, and technologists. You will be inspired and challenged as you read the very personal stories of their journeys.The book provides lessons for anyone who has struggled with faith issues. You will read how these leaders got beyond the trappings of financial and business success to find God. How they overcame personal struggle and even tragedy to come to know Christ. How they reconciled... View Details


The Upstarts: Uber, Airbnb, and the Battle for the New Silicon Valley
by Brad Stone (Author)

ONE OF AMAZON'S BEST BOOKS OF 2017 A look deep inside the new Silicon Valley, from the New York Times bestselling author of The Everything Store.

Ten years ago, the idea of getting into a stranger's car, or walking into a stranger's home, would have seemed bizarre and dangerous--yet today it is as common as ordering a book online. Companies like Uber and Airbnb have redefined the way we live. And while they have become pervasive in our day-to-day lives, they are not universally celebrated. They are the result of a generation of Silicon... View Details


Silicon Photonics Design: From Devices to Systems
by Lukas Chrostowski (Author), Michael Hochberg (Author)

From design and simulation through to testing and fabrication, this hands-on introduction to silicon photonics engineering equips students with everything they need to begin creating foundry-ready designs. In-depth discussion of real-world issues and fabrication challenges ensures that students are fully equipped for careers in industry. Step-by-step tutorials, straightforward examples, and illustrative source code fragments guide students through every aspect of the design process, providing a practical framework for developing and refining key skills. Offering industry-ready expertise, the... View Details


Beyond Silicon Valley: How One Online Course Helped Support Global Entrepreneurs
by Michael E. Goldberg (Author)

Michael E. Goldberg, Assistant Professor of Design and Innovation at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University, takes readers on a international adventure. From Cleveland, Ohio, to transitioning economies in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and the Americas, Goldberg tells the stories of students who took his hugely popular Beyond Silicon Valley massive open online course (MOOC). The students start businesses, mentor entrepreneurs, grow entrepreneurial advocacy organizations, and energize the startup ecosystems in their communities.

All proceeds... View Details


Silicon VLSI Technology
by James D. Plummer Et Al. (Author)

Paperback International Edition ... Same contents as in the US edition at Low Cost !! View Details

Best Science Podcasts 2018

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2018. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Attention Please
In an age of constant information and infinite distractions, how can we pay more attention to our ... attention? This hour, TED speakers explore the battle for our awareness during the digital age. Guests include sociologist Zeynep Tufekci, podcast host Manoush Zomorodi, neuroscientist Amishi Jha, designer Tristan Harris, and computer scientist Jaron Lanier.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#475 Mother Nature is Trying to Kill You (Rebroadcast)
This week, we're learning how deadly and delightful our planet and its ecosystem can be. We're joined by biologist Dan Riskin, co-host of Discovery Canada's Daily Planet, to talk about his book "Mother Nature Is Trying to Kill You: a Lively Tour Through the Dark Side of the Natural World." And we'll talk to astronomer and author Phil Plait about Science Getaways, his company that offers educational vacation experiences for science lovers.