Silicon Carbide (SiC)

Wide-bandgap technologies are based on next-generation semiconductors like Silicon Carbide (SiC) and Gallium Nitride (GaN). These next generation semiconductors are exponentially applied in applications like power electronics and radio-frequency millimeter wave power amplifiers.

Power electronics involves the control and conversion of electricity using solid-state electronic devices. It is estimated that more than 50% of electricity around the world is now controlled by power devices, which are ubiquitously applied throughout all aspects of our lives. While power electronics is currently dominated by legacy Silicon-based devices, next-generation power electronics will be based on the main wide-bandgap materials Silicon Carbide (SiC) owing to its twice higher electron saturation velocity, thrice higher thermal conductivity, and 10 times higher breakdown electric field than Si. With significantly higher energy efficiencies and drastically smaller form factors, SiC power devices can yield annual energy savings estimated to be in the range of tens of billions of kilowatt hours worldwide.

SiC power electronics is instrumental in applications like electric & hybrid vehicles (e.g. in all their traction inverters and on-board chargers today), data centers (power supplies), smart & micro-grid, aerospace & transportations, and renewable energy (inverters for solar energy or wind energy) for a green & circular economy thrust in Singapore and worldwide.

SiC Power Device Design, Fabrication, and Test Characterizations

A*STAR-IME’s SiC power electronics program spans several key areas across the SiC power device manufacturing value chain, including substrate epitaxy, power MOSFET design, simulation, fabrication and test characterizations. As the SiC power MOSFET industry transitions to higher current ratings with larger chip areas and lower on-state resistance values, SiC crystal defect densities and device yields become increasingly critical. A*STAR-IME is pioneering unique approaches to reduce yield-killer defects in SiC epilayers during fast growth epitaxy. Our program focuses on next-generation power MOSFET technologies including innovative device architectures, novel gate dielectric materials and unique processing methods for critically lower on-state resistance. Device characterizations in both static and dynamic testing and long-term extreme reliability testing are also core areas of focus in our program.

SiC Power Module Packaging

Advanced power module packaging for power electronics system applications is one of the key strengths of A*STAR-IME. Our research focuses on improving high-temperature operating capabilities aiming for 200°C maximum junction temperature for power modules packages with lowering of system applications’ parasitic inductances. IME is pioneering unique power module interconnection technologies and proprietary cooling approaches using double-sided liquid cooling for industry’s forefront 6-in-1 system module applications. We are also exploring research collaborations with industry partners to develop next-generation power module packaging materials. Our SiC power modules are currently targeted at automotive & transportation applications, the key sector driving the exponential SiC power electronics industry today.