U.S. Army

Army Assists SiC Research at University of Arkansas

Nov. 5, 2021
SiC semiconductor technology has interested the U.S. Army in the past for its potential in high-power energy sources for electric vehicles.

Silicon carbide (SiC) holds great interest for its potential as a base semiconductor material, especially for the U.S. Army. To fuel the progress of SiC semiconductors with high-temperature-capable, high-efficiency devices and integrated circuits (ICs), the Army Research Office (ARO) and the Army Research Laboratory (ARL) recently awarded grants totaling $5.4 million to the University of Arkansas for a new SiC semiconductor fabrication facility. This funding follows an $18 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for the operation of a national SiC fabrication facility at the University of Arkansas.

As a compound semiconductor material, SiC supports the fabrication of discrete power devices, sensors, and ICs for use by the Army and other branches of the U.S. armed forces. The Army has previously invested in SiC semiconductor technology for high-power electronics for electric tactical vehicles (see figure) and would like to explore the capabilities of SiC semiconductors from dc through RF/microwave frequencies, such as for motion and radar detectors.

The individual grants included $4.5 million from the ARO for semiconductor fabrication equipment and $0.9 million from the ARL will be used for student and staff compensation, tuition, and materials to support collaborative research activities with the ARL. For both grants, Alan Mantooth, Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Arkansas is the principal investigator.

The University of Arkansas is considered by the Carnegie Foundation to be among the top 3% of colleges and universities in the U.S. In addition to Mantooth, researchers at the University of Arkansas on the SiC project include Greg Salamo, Distinguished Professor of Physics, Zhong Chen, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering, and Shannon Davis, Business and Operations Manager in the Department of Electrical Engineering.

About the Author

Jack Browne | Technical Contributor

Jack Browne, Technical Contributor, has worked in technical publishing for over 30 years. He managed the content and production of three technical journals while at the American Institute of Physics, including Medical Physics and the Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology. He has been a Publisher and Editor for Penton Media, started the firm’s Wireless Symposium & Exhibition trade show in 1993, and currently serves as Technical Contributor for that company's Microwaves & RF magazine. Browne, who holds a BS in Mathematics from City College of New York and BA degrees in English and Philosophy from Fordham University, is a member of the IEEE.

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