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University of Basel

05 September 2019

Silicon as a semiconductor: silicon carbide would be much more efficient

The oxidation process of silicon carbide forms defects: At the interface between silicon carbide (periodic black-yellow atoms) and the insulating silicon dioxide (red-yellow atoms), irregular clusters of carbon rings (irregular black structures embedded in red and yellow atoms) occur. These are bound within the crystal lattice and disturb the current flow.
The oxidation process of silicon carbide forms defects: At the interface between silicon carbide (periodic black-yellow atoms) and the insulating silicon dioxide (red-yellow atoms), irregular clusters of carbon rings (irregular black structures embedded in red and yellow atoms) occur. These are bound within the crystal lattice and disturb the current flow. (Image: University of Basel)

In power electronics, semiconductors are based on the element silicon – but the energy efficiency of silicon carbide would be much higher. Physicists of the University of Basel, the Paul Scherrer Institute and ABB explain what exactly is preventing the use of this combination of silicon and carbon in the scientific journal Applied Physics Letters.

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