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As SiC wafers become more readily available, I think more and more multidisciplinary journals and magazines will be publishing articles such as this:

http://199.100.12.74/features/0007int.htm

Mazzola expects that silicon nitride's main impact on optoelectronics will mostly be as a substrate for gallium nitride LEDs. One problem gallium nitride has is that there is no economical, high-quality, free-standing substrate. The only choices are to do heteroepitaxy of gallium nitride onto either sapphire or silicon carbide wafers.

The R&D team at Cree have shown they can get yields equal to that of Sapphire with even better products expected.

Of those two, Mazzola says silicon carbide is superior because it has a smaller lattice constant mismatch to gallium nitride and can be doped to become highly conductive. Having a highly conductive substrate leads to the possibility of making vertical LEDs, which are more cost-effective to produce.

This is one of the things that Cree management goes to the table with when bidding for customers. SiC LEDs are more cost-effective for their(potential and current) customers. With their brightness up and a higher resistance to electrostatic discharge, Cree should eventually be the dominant supplier of LED chips.

In fact, much of the im-provement in silicon carbide wafers has been driven by the need for high-quality substrates for heteroepitaxy of gallium nitride LEDs.

The demand is there, Cree is trying to fill it as fast as they can without sacrificing quality.

"My prognostication," says Mazzola, "is that in the next 5 yr there will be a rapidly growing commercial business for purely silicon carbide power devices. In 5 yr or more, there will be silicon carbide RF and microwave devices, used mostly for defense applications, operating in the L and X bands. You probably will not see gallium nitride devices in those applications. There will, however, be multiple vendors for silicon carbide power devices for a wide range of niche applications."

With Cree hopefully reaping the lion's share of the profits.

Here is the homepage from which I found this article:

http://199.100.12.74/0007toc.htm

- Gavone



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