Silicon carbide (SiC) is a growing alternative to silicon based electronics components especially in wide bandgap applications. The material offers a unique combination of greater power efficiency, smaller size, lighter weight and lower overall cost of the systems.
Material with widespread application
Silicon carbide (SiC) is a material with the potential for a wide variety of advanced applications. Originally used as an abrasive because of its hardness, SiC has since found many different applications such as seal rings, diesel engines, electronic circuitry, industrial heat exchangers, gas turbines, and high-temperature conversion systems.
SiC for semiconductors
Nowadays, silicon carbide could be the key to the future of sustainable energy. SiC power semiconductors can increase the efficiency of energy conversion, withstand higher voltages and currents, and withstand higher operating temperatures than conventional silicon-based devices. All of these factors offer essential advantages for devices such as data center power supplies, wind or solar power modules, and electric vehicle drive converters.
Growing SiC crystals for semiconductors
Crystal growth of SiC is generally carried out using the physical vapor transport (PVT) method. Usually, SiC powder source material is sublimed at elevated temperatures above 2000 °C and crystallizes at a slightly colder seed. The proper choice of the SiC powder source during PVT growth is a prerequisite to achieving a high crystalline quality in the final SiC boule. Several factors impact the growth process, like stoichiometry, purity, polytype, size distribution and related packaging density. In principle, the ideal SiC source undergoes a minor morphological change during growth. The evolution should be smooth and the surface towards the crystal growth interface should be stable.
SiC synthesis by the Acheson method has a long industrial history and has adapted to meet a changing market in applications. The versatility and energy efficiency compared with chemical routes make it an interesting alternative for SiC crystal growth by PVT. The growing demand for SiC power semiconductor devices will require high volumes of SiC source material that can still meet the strict technical requirements intrinsic to the applications. Acheson SiC could provide the market with quality SiC at high volumes and reduced cost.
Fiven SIKA e-SiC source material
To offer a scalable and affordable solution for the semiconductor industry, Fiven has developed SIKA e-SiC material. The product is synthesized using the Acheson process.
In a customized furnace, high purity raw materials are reacted at high temperatures to form the crude. The material is then crushed and milled with specially developed equipment to minimize contamination. Next, a classification step ensures optimal particle size distribution for crystal growth.
The development of the new SiC powder source material, with an average particle size of ca. 300 µm and loosed packed density above 1.6 g/cm3, offers several properties beneficial for the growth of high-quality SiC boules that is necessary for industrial application. The morphology of the SiC powder tends to suppress the release of carbon dust particles, which is advantageous in order to reach a high crystalline quality. The smooth sublimation behavior enables a homogeneous crystallization process exhibiting a stable, slightly convex SiC growth interface.
SIKA e-SiC can be tailored in many ways to meet specific customer needs. Please get in contact with us to discuss your project.
Major parts of this article are based on: Ellefsen, Oda Marie & Arzig, Matthias & Steiner, Johannes & Wellmann, Peter & Runde,. (2019). Optimization of the SiC Powder Source Material for Improved Process Conditions During PVT Growth of SiC Boules. Materials. 12. 3272. 10.3390/ma12193272.
Learn about Fiven's silicon carbide solution for semiconductors
SIKA e-SiC® is available in various sizes and can be tailored to customers' needs. Please contact us for further information and to discuss your project.