The physical and chemical properties of wide bandgap semiconductors silicon carbide and diamond make these materials an ideal choice for device fabrication for applications in many different areas, e.g. light emitters, high temperature and high power electronics, high power microwave devices, micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) technology, and substrates. These semiconductors have been recognized for several decades as being suitable for these applications, but until recently the low material quality has not allowed the fabrication of high quality devices. Silicon carbide and diamond based electronics are at different stages of their development. An overview of the status of silicon carbide's and diamond's application for high temperature electronics is presented. Silicon carbide electronics is advancing from the research stage to commercial production. The most suitable and established SiC polytype for high temperature power electronics is the hexagonal 4H polytype. The main advantages related to material properties are: its wide bandgap, high electric field strength and high thermal conductivity. Almost all different types of electronic devices have been successfully fabricated and characterized. The most promising devices for high temperature applications are pn-diodes, junction field effect transistors and thyristors. MOSFET is another important candidate, but is still under development due to some hidden problems causing low channel mobility. For microwave applications, 4H-SiC is competing with Si and GaAs for frequency below 10 GHz and for systems requiring cooling like power amplifiers. The unavailability of high quality defect and dislocation free SiC substrates has been slowing down the pace of transition from research and development to production of SiC devices, but recently new method for growth of ultrahigh quality SiC, which could promote the development of high power devices, was reported. Diamond is the superior material for high power and high temperature electronics. Fabrication of diamond electronic devices has reached important results, but high temperature data are still scarce. PN-junctions have been formed and investigated up to 400 °C. Schottky diodes operating up to 1000 °C have been fabricated. BJTs have been fabricated functioning in the dc mode up to 200 °C. The largest advance, concerning development of devices for RF application, has been done in fabrication of different types of FETs. For FETs with gate length 0.2 μm frequencies fT = 24.6 GHz, fmax(MAG) = 63 GHz and fmax(U) = 80 GHz were reported. Further, capacitors and switches, working up to 450 °C and 650 °C, respectively, have also been fabricated. Low resistant thermostable resistors have been investigated up to 800 °C. Temperature dependence of field emission from diamond films has been measured up to 950 °C. However, the diamond based electronics is still regarded to be in its infancy. The prerequisite for a successful application of diamond for the fabrication of electronic devices is availability of wafer diamond, i.e. large area, high quality, inexpensive, diamond single crystal substrates. A step forward in this direction has been made recently. Diamond films grown on multilayer substrate Ir/YSZ/Si(001) having qualities close those of homoepitaxial diamond have been reported recently. © Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2006.
2006. Vol. 17, no 1