SiC Movie Stars!

30 01 2013

Tomorrow sees the official launch of the UK’s first silicon carbide foundry. Raytheon Uk have been busy updating their facilities to offer a complete foundry service for 4″ SiC wafers. This is running alongside their development of SiC CMOS, a project leading the realisation of 400C CMOS strcutures, from amplifiers to digital circuits.
As part of this big launch, two of our colleagues from Raytheon have found themselves on YouTube explaining the benefits from the use of SiC in high temperature electronics. The video of Robin and Ewan can be found here.

Annual Research Conference – The Highlights

28 01 2013

Last weeks internal research conference was a great success. Not only was it the first time that I haven’t been dragged into the organisation, but we made a good job of winning the prizes …

Sandip narrowly beat Neal to the poster prize with his work on the development of gas sensor arrays, following on from Ben Furnival.

SiC gas array high temperature

The winning poster

Neal took second with his work on amplifier structures for hostile environments, an area which will support a lot of our other work in sensor development.

SiC amplifier hostile environment

SiC Amplifier structures

On top of this, Lucy won the best presentation award, beating Karthik into second place. Her presentation used Prezi, which was something new to me and judging by the comments in the audience was new to most of us. She then went on to win the second best paper prize, making it a good day out for us all.

An experiment …

2 01 2013

More of a social experiment than the usual sparks and destruction fest which can be found in the lab. I’ve been having a bit of a play with the Mendeley desktop over Christmas. I’ve been really impressed with the flexibility of how you can grab and drop pdf files of journal articles (and anything else) and the sync feature means I have my reading list on both computers and iPad. At last, something worthwhile to read in meetings (although – I have been playing with the NASA app and the the NASA visual app in meetings for a while now)
As part of my playing with Mendeley, I have decided to try creating a group with a view to gauging the level of interest for research into Molybdenum Disulphide. This miracle material offers some significant advantages over graphene (a bandgap for example) and recent results from EPFL have demonstrated some pretty decent transistor characteristics. Hopefully, this new group (called Molybdenum Disulphide – original I know) will attract enough interested parties and then we can take it from there and branch out into other areas of our research.

Electronics, Sensors, Photonics KTN Meeting

3 05 2012

Just back from the Advances in wireless sensor networks for hostile environments meeting hosted by the Electronics, Sensors and Photonics KTN. A long day out from Newcastle (even though we are halfway up the UK) on the train, the event was held in the old LMS training facility.

Calidior Altior Durior

There was plenty of interest in our work and loads more of interest to think about, from ideas on the development of design rules for wireless sensor networks, to the challenges of instrumenting gas turbines and oil wells. The poster I presented can be downloaded from here as a full size (A0) pdf file KTN Poster

This week …

2 05 2012

More good news from Omid, his paper entitled ‘Design and Performance Evaluation of SiC MOSFET/JFET Based DC-DC Converters for PV Applications’ has been accepted at the upcoming 2012 IEEE Energy Conversion Congress and Exposition to be held in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA. The reviewers have been very complimentary about the work and hopefully this will result in an oral presentation! As one of the most prestigious conferences in the field, the papers are linked to IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics, which is arguably the place to publish research results in power electronics.

Monday saw the extended abstract deadline for the European Conference on Silicon Carbide and Related Materials (ECSCRM) 2012. We managed to get eight abstracts in for the deadline, which is no mean feat, covering almost the entire breadth of what we do, from graphene growth to the characterisation of oxide layers on SiC CMOS! Without time to catch our breath, the next deadline is Friday, the IEEE Sensors 2012 abstract deadline. This time, we are looking to submit three, graphene sensors, our SiC sensor array and recent work on self starting boost converters for powering sensor nodes.

Tomorrow sees me in Derby to give a presentation at the Electronics, Sensors and Photonics Knowledge Transfer Network meeting. Containing our results and vision for wireless sensor nodes, the slides can be downloaded from here KTN Talk – 3rd May 2012. I am also showing a poster outlining our work, which will hopefully attract lots of attention.

A week of contrasts

22 04 2012

The end of another week and this one has shown the usual ups and downs. Firstly, Sandip joined us to take up the PhD studentship on our EPSRC project on Monday. His first job was to write an abstract for the ECSCRM 2012 deadline, which was Friday the 20th of April. With eight abstracts being submitted by us this year, it was a relief when they extended the deadline to the 30th, as some people still hadn’t finished writing theirs by lunchtime on Friday.

My trip to the NMI meeting on Tuesday was great. Flying in a small, turbo prop plane in high winds and driving rain is never much fun, but the talk went well and I got to speak to a good number of interesting people. Hopefully some of these will translate into collaborations for the future. Just inside the MTC at Ansty (which is a spectacular looking building) is an amazing sight …

Bentley Le Mans Winner 2003

Wednesday brought an opportunity for a properly ‘techy day’, John and Anna from the Space Research Centre at Leicester University came to have a chat about our ongoing work developing Silicon Carbide radiation detectors. There’s plenty of scope here for some interesting developments in the future, so watch this space.

Finally, during one of the obligatory trips to a well known DIY store, it appears that the nice people at JCB know more about my dressing habits than I do …

JCB Alton Hoodie B&Q

I guess it is referring to Alton, a town in Staffordshire which is famous for an amusement park

National Microelectronics Institute

16 04 2012

Just finished my talk for tomorrows day out at the Manufacturing Technology Centre, hosted by the National Microelectronics Institute. It’s an opportunity to talk about the work we have been undertaking in power electronics using Silicon Carbide. It’s certainly interesting how rapid the change has been in this field, with efficiencies of over 95% now being reported. Our work is in the idea of novel topologies and gate drive circuits to enable SiC to move forward. Some of this work was presented by Omid at the PECI conference last month and won him the best paper award, so this is obviously a topical area! The presentation I am giving can be downloaded from here.

NMI Talk – 17th April 2012