July 12–DURHAM, N.C–Chipmaker Cree, Inc. has been awarded more than $26 million in government contracts from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and Air Force Research Laboratories (AFRL) for silicon carbide (SiC) microwave monolithic integrated circuit (MMIC) process development.
The U.S. Navy, the Missile Defense Agency and the Department of Defense’s Title III program jointly fund these contracts. Under Cree’s existing Title III contract with AFRL, the project added $3.2 million through a contract modification for additional tasks focused on improving yields of the three-inch diameter high purity semi-insulating SiC substrates to be used for these devices. The remaining $23.3 million will be provided through a new contract with ONR.
The cleanroom fabrication work will include the development of more automated wafer handling systems for the larger diameter wafers, as well as the implementation of statistical process control for these new processes. The program is incrementally funded, with funding in future government fiscal years subject to appropriation and allocation of the contracted amounts.
The program builds on Cree’s past demonstrations of SiC MMIC performance with the goal of providing enhanced production of SiC materials, both substrates and epitaxy, and cleanroom processing, in support of high-power MMIC amplifiers useful in military radar applications. All of the work will be directed to yield enhancement and cost reduction for MMICs fabricated on
Three-inch diameter wafers.
“We are excited to move this technology forward from the R&D stage into a manufacturing environment,” says John Palmour, Cree’s director of advanced devices.
Adds Jim Milligan, Cree’s manager of advanced microwave programs, “This program is intended to enable lower cost high power SiC amplifiers that can significantly enhance the performance of a variety of military radar systems while maintaining affordability.”