A £4.8m (€5.6m) investment will fund the creation of a wide band gap power electronics component industrial pilot line with equipment at Swansea and Newport Wafer Fab (NWF).
The pilot line will process 150mm and 200mm SiC substrates that can be used to manufacture efficient power electronics for sectors such as automotive, aerospace, medical and energy. Supply of SiC substrates is a key factor for the production of power devices. II-VI last year bought SiC wafer supplier Ascatron to secure its supply chain.
“This investment will allow NWF to develop next generation SiC MOSFETs, devices at the heart of the green revolution, a critical component of our scale-up ambitions,” said Dr Andrew Withey, Compound Process Integration Manager at Newport Wafer Fab.
The funding for Swansea and NWF has been awarded as part of Driving the Electric Revolution (DER) which is part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund led by UK Research and Innovation. DER is investing a total of £28.5 million into state-of-the-art equipment across the country for an electrification supply chain to be built across sectors, including industrial, transport and energy.
The investment brings together a UK-wide network of over 30 academic, research and technology organisations based around four regional DER Industrialisation Centres, each supported by industrial clusters and bodies, in South West and Wales, Scotland, the North East, and the Midlands.
The South Wales investment is a key component of Swansea University’s new Centre for Integrative Semiconductor Materials (CISM ) project involving multiple partners from the region’s compound semiconductor (CS) Connected semiconductor manufacturing community.
“Power electronics is a key enabling technology and is used in all sectors from domestic appliances, transportation, through to renewable energy generation. This new pilot line will manufacture new innovations in SiC semiconductor chips for use in the next generation of power electronic systems that will be more efficient, lighter and play a crucial role in helping the UK to meet its carbon reduction targets,” said Mike Jennings, Associate Professor at Swansea University’s College of Engineering.
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