$12M for R&D into Silicon Carbide Electronics
Cree Inc. in Durham, NC, is being awarded a $12 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to develop prototype high voltage switches and diodes using Silicon Carbide.
As DID has reported, Cree, Inc. is also part of a team with Raytheon IDS’ WBGS-RF (Wide Bandgap Semiconductors for Radio Frequency) group, doing research into the use of Gallium Nitride for Wide Band Semiconductors
Work will be performed in Durham, NC and is expected to be complete November 2006. The contract was competitively procured under Broad Agency Announcement 04-28. The Office of Naval Research in Arlington, VA issued the contract (N00014-05-C-0202).
UPDATE: SiC is finding its way into military elecgtronics, where its extra cost is secondary to the performance opportunities. See this January 9, 2007 Lockheed Martin release, which says:
“The S4R EDM is an active, electronically-steered, antenna-based radar system designed to be scalable to support multiple missions, including air surveillance, cruise missile defense, ballistic missile defense, counter target acquisition and littoral operations. The proven design is derived from the S-band antenna developed for the U.S. Navy’s Volume Search Radar on the DDG-1000 next-generation destroyer.
The S4R EDM was developed using Silicon Carbide (SiC) based high-power Transmit/Receive (T/R) modules. SiC provides greater power than other commonly used materials due to its increased heat tolerance. With more power, the radar has longer range and provides more precise target discrimination.
Transmit/Receive modules are the most critical components of a solid state antenna. They serve as multiple function circuits that generate and transmit signal power over the full face of the radar, receive the reflected radar signal, amplify it for processing and electronically steer the radio frequency beams in space.”
- Ruby N. Ghosh, Dept. of Physics & Astronomy, University of Michigan – Wide Bandgap Semiconductors: Silicon Carbide