Silicon Carbide Wafer Manufacturing
NREL's advanced manufacturing researchers partner with industry and academia to improve the materials and processes used to manufacture silicon carbide (SiC) wafers.
Unlike similar silicon-based components, SiC manufacturing demands greater efficiency at higher temperatures. Due to the robustness of this emerging material, high-energy processes for SiC have been developed for energy-efficient power device markets.
The challenge is the introduction of basal plane dislocations during the activation anneal process, which can cause body diode degradation in SiC metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistors (MOSFETs). To prevent this, SiC MOSFETs are fabricated using elevated temperature aluminum implantation. This method of manufacturing SiC devices can be energy intensive and costly.
NREL's research investigates materials challenges that adversely affect the production of SiC and explores possible improved unit processes that could prevent the introduction of basal plane dislocations at lower temperatures and minimize lithography failures due to wafer bowing and warping.
NREL's research into developing a room-temperature aluminum implantation process that omits the introduction of basal plane dislocations would simplify SiC MOSFET fabrication and reduce costs.
This work supports the U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Technologies Office's goal to develop high-voltage wide-bandgap semiconductors with higher reliability and lower cost. This project also highlights the benefits of successful collaboration efforts between industry, academia, and the national laboratories.
NREL works on thermal design optimization and thermo-mechanical modeling and analysis of critical components needed to help partners, such as John Deere Electronic Solutions, design, develop, fabricate, and validate wide-bandgap power electronics systems for all-electric vehicles.
Through research on thermal and reliability aspects of wide-bandgap-based metal-oxide semiconductor field-effect transistors and packages/modules, NREL advises the next generation of power electronics engineers on thermal and thermomechanical modeling, as well as other modeling aspects, in collaboration with Virginia Tech.
Learn more about NREL's materials science capabilities.
This project combines knowledge from academia, industry, and national laboratories. Led by NREL, this venture includes expertise from:
- Auburn University
- Naval Research Laboratory
- The Ohio State University
- SUNY Polytechnic Institute