Connecting the UK Power Electronics Supply Chain with Metrology

CSconnected partner, the Compound Semiconductor Centre (CSC), has announced its participation in in PowerElec, a new €1.7M project within the European Metrology Programme for Innovation and Research (EMPIR - EURAMET) running from June 2021 to May 2024, to develop and apply new metrological tools for quality control of wide bandgap semiconductors.

Power Electronics is a key technology for electrification of transport, smart energy distribution and next-generation communications, which will enable the UK’s green recovery and Net Zero ambitions.

The next generation of power electronics will be driven by the shift from Silicon to wide bandgap compound semiconductors (Gallium Nitride, Silicon Carbide, and in future, Gallium Oxide). These materials offer huge performance benefits in terms of efficiency, weight, high-frequency and high-temperature performance over current Silicon-based solutions. However, their sensitivity to nanoscale material defects presents a barrier to upscaling and commercial adoption. The project will develop new instrumentation, non-destructive measurement methods and agreed standards for the characterisation of wafer quality at multiple levels in the material and device fabrication process.

The project is led by the UK National Physical Laboratory, with key European Industry partners (Infineon, IQE, Aixtron, CSC) as well as other national metrology institutes and international standards organisations to support the growth of European compound semiconductor supply chains.

Rob Harper, GaN Programme Manager at CSC commented: ’Metrology is often undervalued in a transition from development to commercialisation, but it is critical to have comprehensive metrology to support yield and cost control when scaling new semiconductor technologies. The activity will compliment CSCs activities in GaN-on-SiC and GaN-on-Silicon RF and Power epitaxial products, which include lateral HEMTs and vertical trench FETs’

Wyn Meredith, Director of CSC added ‘The UK has a leading position in compound semiconductor materials technology, centred on the South Wales CSconnected Cluster, and we are pleased to be part of a new European ecosystem to address high-growth segments in a global power electronics market worth in excess of $35B per annum’

About CSconnected

CSconnected represents the world’s first global centre of excellence for Compound Semiconductors, a unique eco-system of high technology capability leading the way in applied research, advanced applications, collaborative innovation putting Wales and the UK at the forefront of new and emerging material and device to market.

CSconnected is a cluster of academic institutions, innovation organisations and industrial partners collaborating to providing thought leadership and expertise to foster and promote the role of Compound Semiconductors as a key enabling technology.

Visit www.csconnected.com to learn more, and connect with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

About The Compound Semiconductor Centre (CSC)

CSC was founded in 2015 as a Joint Venture between Cardiff University and IQE Plc, with the mission of accelerating commercialisation of Compound Semiconductor Materials and Device Research. Based in Cardiff, the Centre is a vital milestone towards developing a Compound Semiconductor Technology Cluster in South Wales.

About EMPIR

The European Metrology Programme for Innovation and Research (EMPIR) coordinates research projects that address grand challenges to target the needs of industry, and accelerate the uptake of research outputs. The programme aims to bridge the gap between EU member states with emerging measurement systems, and those with more developed capabilities. Annual EMPIR research calls to 2020 are supported by 600 M€ of European Union funding.