2006 Purdue–Silicon Valley Symposia

Creating a Semiconductor Device Technology in Silicon Carbide

Silicon carbide (SiC) is a binary compound semiconductor in which half the lattice sites are occupied by silicon atoms and half by carbon atoms, both from column IV of the periodic table. In many respects, SiC is a blend between pure silicon (all sites occupied by Si) and pure diamond (all sites occupied by C). In particular, the bandgap of SiC is around 3.25 eV, about midway between silicon and diamond.

SiC is of special interest for device applications in harsh environments. The critical field for avalanche breakdown is about 10 times higher than silicon, making SiC ideal for high-voltage devices. It has extremely high thermal stability and very low thermal leakage currents, making it suitable for high-temperature applications. Even better, SiC is the only compound semiconductor whose native oxide is SiO2, making it possible to fabricate the entire family of MOS devices in this material.

This talk will describe efforts at Purdue over the past 15 years to develop a semiconductor device technology in this remarkable material.

Jim Cooper

William Harrison Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Purdue University

After receiving his PhD from Purdue University in 1973, Jim Cooper joined the technical staff of Bell Laboratories, Murray Hill, New Jersey. There he was principal designer of AT&T's first CMOS microprocessor and developed a time-of-flight technique for investigating high-field transport in inversion layers on silicon. Cooper joined Purdue's faculty in 1983. From 1983 through 1989 his work centered on novel devices in GaAs, and since 1990 he has explored device technology in the wide bandgap semiconductor SiC.

A fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), he was associate editor of IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices from 1983 through 1986 and currently serves on the editorial advisory board of IEEE Proceedings . He has graduated 20 PhD students and has been principal investigator on $29 million in sponsored research contracts. Cooper is also a founding co-director of the Birck Nanotechnology Center, a $58-million research facility that recently opened in Purdue's Discovery Park.