While silicon devices are still popular, their cost can be prohibitive and, in coming decades, materials such as Silicon carbide (SiC), Aluminium nitride (AlN) and Gallium nitride (GaN) will be more widely adopted in commercial products. These products include, but are not limited to MEMS, LEDs and power transistors. With further research and development, these materials will provide enhanced performance which improves energy efficiency, and enables higher performance in ever smaller and lighter final packaged products. However, to manufacture these products at a low, commercially viable cost, utilisation of mature silicon wafer processing and large silicon wafers is required. The use of epitaxially grown SiC on silicon can better enable product fabrication on standard silicon wafers.
To enable the use of SiC on Si in mass production, suitable SiC deposition equipment must be available. Based on the technology developed by Griffith University, QMNC has joined hands with SPTS Technologies, a global semiconductor equipment manufacturing company, to develop such a production reactor. One production reactor has already been installed at Queensland Microtechnology Facility (QMF) at Griffith University and can process 2” to 300mm diameter wafers. Testing and evolution of the system is ongoing so that the required attributes of a production system and processes are developed ready for mass production.
The development of a range application-specific epitaxial SiC on Si deposition processes will be needed. SiC on Si could be used for a range of new devices such as MEMS devices for high temperature and harsh environment pressure sensors. These pressure sensors that can be used to monitor the operation of internal combustion engine in cars and via the engine management system aid further energy efficiency. SiC on Si wafers will enable enhanced use of GaN in products for applications such as LEDs used for general lighting and power transistors for motor control. SiC on Si can also be used in conjunction with graphene to further enhance sensor technology.