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Press Release 93-73
Lori J. Rachul
(Bus: 216/433-8806)

NASA Announces New Semiconductor Growth Process

Cleveland, OH -- Scientists from NASA today announced a major advancement in a rapidly emerging semiconductor technology at the International Conference on Silicon Carbide and Related Materials in Washington, D.C.

Dr. David J. Larkin and his teammates from NASA's Lewis Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio, announced a new silicon carbide crystal growth process, called "site competition epitaxy," in a paper presented at the conference.

"This new growth process can be used to produce superior silicon carbide semiconductor electronic devices. Silicon carbide electronic devices can withstand temperatures of 1200 degrees Fahrenheit, much higher than conventional semiconductors. This will enable electric systems to replace cumbersome hydraulic and pneumatic systems now used in jet engines that will result in cleaner, more fuel-efficient aircraft," Larkin said.

Silicon carbide electronics also offer significant performance gains for spacecraft, electric vehicles, microwave radar and cellular communications systems and computer memories.

High voltage diodes (diodes are fundamental components of most circuits) have been produced by the group using the semiconductor technology described in the paper. These diodes successfully operated at 2000 volts, the highest voltages ever recorded for devices using silicon carbide.

Under the sponsorship of NASA's Office of Aeronautics, the Lewis Research Center has been a major participant in silicon carbide electronics development work for the last decade. Larkin's colleagues in this research are Dr. Philip G. Neudeck, J. Anthony Powell and Dr. Lawrence G. Matus. The group works in the High Temperature Integrated Electronics and Sensors program at Lewis.

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