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  • Joining up the UK Power Electronics Supply Chain with Metrology

Joining up the UK Power Electronics Supply Chain with Metrology

Developing the standards to underpin next generation power electronics and supporting a green recovery

NPL is leading PowerElec, a €1.7M project within the European Metrology Programme for Innovation and Research (EMPIR) 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 Grids, Next-Generation Communications, which will enable the UK’s Green Recovery and Net Zero ambitions as well as contributing to the Levelling-up agenda.

The next generation of power electronics will be driven by the shift from silicon to wide bandgap compound semiconductors (Gallium Nitride, Silicon Carbide, and later Gallium Oxide). These materials offer huge performance benefits in terms of efficiency, weight, high-frequency and high-temperature performance. 

However, their sensitivity to nanoscale material defects presents a barrier to upscaling and wider adoption. A key challenge is to develop robust measurement methods and agreed standards for the rapid detection and characterisation of wafer quality. These measurement standards are key to quality assurance and are a critical enabler of supply chain interactions. 

Fragmentation and fragility of supply chains is a major problem for the semiconductor industry, resulting in acute shortages and stifling productivity. Reliable measurements and agreed standards are the ‘connective tissue’ that is required for growth of the compound semiconductor market. This project will develop new instrumentation and methods for measuring the quality of wide bandgap semiconductor wafers.

As the UK’s National Metrology Institute, NPL is uniquely placed to bring together stakeholders from industrial, academic and metrology communities in this collaborative project that will benefit the whole compound semiconductor industry.

The UK has a leading position in semiconductor wafer growth, centred on the South Wales CS Connected cluster and wider Western Gateway region. Within this project NPL will work with UK CSC and IQE and international (Infineon, AIXTRON) industry, as well as other national metrology institutes and international standards organisations to support the growth of compound semiconductor supply chains.

To find out how you can get involved or to hear out latest updates please get in touch: WebpageEmail addressLinkedin group

 

16 Sep 2021