Swansea University and Newport Wafer Fab Awarded New Funding for Manufacture of SiC Substrates

April 15, 2021 by Stephanie Leonida

Swansea University and Newport Wafer Fab receive government funds to help lead the UK toward net-zero carbon emission goals and clean up technology supply chains.

Recently, the UK government awarded Swansea University and Newport Wafer Fab (NWF) with £4.8 million in funding for cutting-edge equipment to manufacture silicon carbide (SiC) substrates for power devices. These substrates are intended to be used to create more efficient power electronics devices for the medical, energy, automotive, and aerospace sectors. 

Image used courtesy of Swansea University 
Image used courtesy of Swansea University 


Driving the Electric Revolution

Funding was awarded under the Driving the Electric Revolution (DER) challenge which is part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund led by UK Research and Innovation. The challenge looks to provide £80 million in investment for electrification technologies including power electronics, electric machines, and drives (PEMD). DER is investing £28.5 million into equipment across the UK to help create competitive and clean technology supply chains. The challenge is hoped to help the nation deliver on its goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions. The investment provided through DER brings together a network of over 30 academic, research and technology organizations based around four regional DER Industrialisation Centres. Each of these centers is supported by industrial clusters and bodies, in South West and Wales, Scotland, the North East, and the Midlands.


Swansea and NWF

The investment will be used to support Swansea University’s new Centre for Integrative Semiconductor Materials (CISM) project. The project brings together multiple partners from the region’s CS Connected semiconductor manufacturing community. Funding will be used to feed a wide bandgap power electronics component industrial pilot line with equipment at Swansea and Newport Wafer Fab. 


In a recent news release, Associate Professor at Swansea University’s College of Engineering, Mike Jennings, commented: “We welcome this funding which will contribute to further developing Swansea University’s power electronics capabilities. Power electronics is a key enabling technology and is used in all sectors from domestic appliances, transportation, to renewable energy generation. This new pilot line will manufacture innovations in SiC semiconductor chips for use in the next generation of power electronic systems that will be more efficient, lighter, and play a crucial role in helping the UK to meet its carbon reduction targets.


Image used courtesy of Newport Wafer Fab 
Image used courtesy of Newport Wafer Fab 


In the same news release, Compound Process Integration Manager at NWF, Dr. Andrew Withey, said: "This award further demonstrates the collective strength of the regional CS Connected community in key enabling technologies for electrification and connectivity.

This investment will allow NWF to develop next-generation SiC MOSFETs, devices at the heart of the green revolution, a critical component of our scale-up ambitions.”