The University of Arkansas has received $17.87 million from the National Science Foundation to build and operate a silicon carbide research and fabrication facility.
The facility will fill a void in U.S. production of ICs made with SiC, a material that is suited to produce semiconductors that operate in high temperature environments. Currently, all Sic fabs in the U.S. are for internal use only and U.S. research and development of SiC ICs relies on international fabrication.
The University of Arkansas facility will provide domestic opportunities for prototyping, proof-of principle demonstrations and device design. The fab will be the only openly accessible facility of its kind in the U.S., available to external researchers.
The funding will pay for infrastructure, equipment, technology installation and enhancements to current facilities for new equipment. It will also cover three full-time staff members, a post-doctoral researcher for four years and other funding for operation.
The University of Arkansas said SiC is transforming the power electronics industry with its physical properties that provide high mechanical, chemical and thermal stability. The wide-bandgap technology includes high thermal stability, which makes it suitable for extreme temperatures.
Once operational, the fab will provide ICs, sensors and devices for military and industrial applications such as solar inverters, electronics for cars and systems used in heavy transportation and construction equipment.
Additionally, the fab will help to train the next generation of chip researchers and engineers that can work in both the silicon and SiC industries.