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Silicon Carbide Radiation Resistance

#0197


Development of High Temperature Radiation Hardened Silicon Carbide Field-Effect Transistor.

Tech Area / Field

  • INF-ELE/Microelectronics and Optoelectronics/Information and Communications

Status
8 Project completed

Registration date
27.06.1994

Completion date
28.02.2000

Senior Project Manager
Komarkov D A

Leading Institute
Russian Academy of Sciences / Physical Technical Institute, Russia, St Petersburg

Collaborators

  • Institute for Space and Astronautical Science / Division for Space Applications, Japan, Sagamihara\nHitachi Research Institute, Japan, Tokyo

Project summary

The purpose of the project is to develop a new generation of high temperature and radiation hardened electronics, specifically silicon carbide field effect transistors. Studies and market surveys have shown that a need exists in the commercial sectors around the world for high temperature and/or radiation hardened electronics which can operate up to 600 °C, a fluence of 1016 n/cm2, and a total dose of several hundred megarad. Applications for high temperature and/or radiation hardened electronics include electronics mounted on internal combustion engines and jet turbines (automotive and aircraft industries), power electronics used for all-electric automobiles and all-electric control of aircraft, high speed power electronics for radar and power conditioning, signal processing electronics for geothermal exploration and oil well logging,, monitoring electronics for high temperature food processing and chemical processing plants, electronics for environmental analysis and restoration of nuclear and chemical wastes, and instrumentation and control systems for commercial reactors and space reactors. Currently available commercial electronics can function adequately to 150 °C, 1014 n/cm2, and up to several Mrad. Initial studies show that silicon carbide based transistors have the potential to operate at temperatures as high as 650 °C and in radiation environments several orders of magnitude more severe than silicon based commercial electronics.

This project will address the ISTC's objectives by funding Ioffe scientists, engineers, and technicians to produce silicon carbide based electronics which can be applied to the commercial and civil needs listed above. The research staff will be able to carry out both basic and applied research to develop silicon carbide electronic technology which can be applied for peaceful purposes in environmental protection, energy production, nuclear reactor safety, and other commercial industries such as the automotive and aircraft industries. Funding of this project will allow the research staff to work jointly with Sandia National Laboratories and Westinghouse as well as interact with industrial companies interested in developing silicon carbide based electronics for commercial applications. Successful development and commercial applications of silicon carbide based electronics will ensure the development of long term career opportunities in the civilian sector and will strengthen the scientific research and development capacity of the Russian institutions.

Westinghouse and Sandia National Laboratories have met with the Io6e Institute to discuss future joint activities in research and development of SiC Field Effect Transistors. Westinghouse, Sandia, and 10% jointly agreed that Westinghouse and Sandia would evaluate SiC transistors developed under the ISTC proposal; Westinghouse and Sandia would recommend changes to improve the material and sensors throughout the duration of the project. Westinghouse and Sandia will also seek to implement other proposals to develop SiC as an augmentation to the activities of the ISTC proposal.

The scope of activity will involve fabricating field effect transistors for use at high temperature and/or radiation levels. A wide range of research and development efforts will take place in parallel to fabricate these transistors: 1) The growth and controlled doping of epitaxial material on high quality substrates will be investigated, 2) the deposition and characterization of ohmic contacts and Schottky barriers will be studied, 3) the deposition and characterization of sulfur oxides on silicon carbide will be studied, and 4) etching techniques will be investigated to create desired device structures.

The scientific and methodological approach to achieve the objectives of the project will be based on further development of SiC fabrication technologies presently considered most promising. Homoepitaxial growth of thin silicon carbide films of 6H and 4H polytypes by sublimation sandwich-method in an open system and by CVD-technique, high temperature ohmic contacts based on refractory metals, profiling of SiC surfaces using reactive ion-plasma etching with plasma discharge excited by RF inductor, and growth of oxides suitable for passivating and controlling subsurface currents.

The expected results of the project will be a delivery of field effect transistors capable of operating at elevated temperatures and radiation levels. Their performance will be characterized at various temperature and radiation regimes. Scientific results will focus on determining the correct processing conditions (such as temperature, pressure, chemical precursors, bias conditions, etc.) to produce: 1) epitaxial in various conditions of doping, 2) oxides, 3) metals, and 4) structures. These process conditions will establish the correct thermodynamics and kinetics of the various growth processes described above. Delivery of functioning high temperature and radiation hardened devices could have immediate commercial impact upon the automotive, aircraft, logging, and nuclear industries mentioned above.

Successful development and commercial applications of silicon carbide based electronics is the question of interest around the world:


USA: Westinghouse, General Electric, Cree Research, ATM, NASA;
Europe: Daimler Benz, Siemens, Thomson CSF, Eisen Brown Bowary, Merlin Gerin, Bosh;
Japan: Sanyo, Sharp, Nissan, NKK Stil, Sumitomo.


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