Key benefits claimed:
Among the applications are:* High precision alignment and bonding of SiC components for ground- and space-based applications * High strength, low mechanical loss joining of SiC parts * semiconductors * astronomical instruments
(Right: SiC crystal, Courtesy:www. theodoregray.com) University of Edinburgh can also offers an SiC patent as an excellent material for fabrication of microsensors and microactuators for use in extreme conditions. The invention allows fabrication of a SiC MEMs device with improved physical properties, using a novel fabrication method. It allows released SiC cantilevers and bridge MEMs structures of controlled properties to be produced in a one-step-process. Test devices have been fabricated and their properties analysed. Very straight, stress free SiC beams have been produced using the process.
SiC in the market
In the SiC field, there's plenty of activity currently. Pacific Aerospace & Electronic in the US notes that titanium composite technology can produce electronic packages that are stronger and more reliable than aluminum alternatives, however, titanium's thermal dissipation characteristics are inadequate for some applications. Accordingly PA&E offers engineers the option of using integrated molybdenum/copper heat sinks and now, for applications where weight is a primary consideration, the company is offering an aluminum silicon carbide heat sink option. (http://www.pacaero.com)
Over the last two years, Dow Corning, which at one point appeared to have forgotten the material, has been steadily been reducing SiC micropipes — a key defect that has been a major challenge for the industry — from an average of well over 100 per cm² to less than 10 per cm² and is on track to be well under 5 per cm² by year end, said Jim Helwick, Gobal Business director, Dow Corning Compound Semiconductor Solutions. At the same time, X-ray measurements of crystal quality show a better than five-fold improvement and average epitaxy defects were reduced 900% in 18 months.
"These improvements are critical to drive efforts to move SiC device technology closer to high volume manufacturing,” Helwick said. "The rapid technical advances in compound semiconductors combined with growing market interest in improved energy efficiency and performance put Dow Corning in a good position to support our customers with a valuable new semiconductor technology.” (http://www.dowcorning.com/content/compsemi/compsemi4hcond/)
And in Europe, "Rohm is co-operating with Honda in developing SiC power transistors for use in Honda's high-power modules for the automotive industry. Silicon carbide MOSFETs offer the advantage of reduced heat dissipation or higher efficiency. There is also a strong incentive from governments to develop new technologies due to the CO2 taxation system for vehicles in Europe. More electronics is needed to ensure better CO2 profiles.Analyst Semicast predicts that the average electronics content per vehicle will, rise from $297 today to $375 by 2015," says Christian Andr, president Rohm, Europe. (http://tinyurl.com/5u8use)