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American Institute of Physics



Book Review

Silicon Carbide: Recent Major Advances

W. J. Choyke, H. Matsunami, and G. Pensl, eds.
Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg, New York, 2004
899 pp., $239.00 hb
ISBN 3-540-40458-9

Reviewed by Hani Badawi

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book coverIf there were a vote for the most exciting topic in the semiconductor material arena, I would certainly cast mine for the wide-bandgap semiconductor field. Indeed, since 1998, I have seen this field grow by leaps and bounds, reminiscent of the developments that occurred two to three decades previously in the field of III-V compounds. I was fortunate to have played a humble role in the III-V—mainly gallium arsenide (GaAs)—electronic device arena at different international organizations, namely ITT, Grumman Aerospace, Hughes Aircraft, Anadigics, and ATMI. It was at ATMI (1998–2001), while serving as director of operations in the GaAs Epitaxial Services Group (Epitronics), that I had my initiation into the use of gallium nitride (GaN) and silicon carbide (SiC) materials for electronic device applications.

SiC as a material is most suited for applications in which high-temperature, high-power, and high-frequency devices are needed. To that end, the book Silicon Carbide: Recent Major Advances is a good compendium of advances made since the early 1990s at numerous reputable international institutions by top authorities in the field. The editors have arranged the sequence of chapters to cover a wide array of activities in a fairly coherent and effective manner.

In this nearly 900-page book, special emphasis has been placed on the “materials” aspects and developments thereof. To that end, about 80% of the book addresses the theory, crystal growth, defects, surface and interface properties, characterization, and processing issues pertaining to SiC. The remaining 20% of the book covers the electronic device aspects of this material. This book, however, does not cover optical devices, nor does it purport or attempt to analyze SiC/GaN material aspects and applications thereof. This could well be a deliberate omission on the part of the editors to avoid expanding the book any further. In addition, the index is too brief and leaves much to be desired from a book of that length—for example, GaN, aluminum nitride (AlN), Schottky diode, tantalum silicate (TaSi), Fermi level, junction field-effect transistor (JFET), metal oxide semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET), and silicon dioxide (SiO 2 ) are not even listed.

Even though the commercialization of electronic devices using SiC is far from mature, it is interesting to note that, within a few months of the publication of this book, three other textbooks covering many aspects of SiC were published: Silicon Carbide: Materials, Processing, and Devices (Feng, Z. C.; Zhao, J. H., eds.; Taylor & Francis, 2004); SiC Power Materials and Devices (Feng, Z. C., ed.; Springer-Verlag, 2004); and Advances in Silicon Carbide Processing and Applications (Saddow, S. E.; Agarwal, A., eds.; Artech House Publishers, 2004).

Overall, this book will be valuable as a reference for SiC researchers for a few years to come.


Hani Badawi is director of applications engineering at AXT, Inc., in Fremont, California. He holds six patents and, in the past 25 years, has published in the areas of gallium arsenide integrated circuits and strained silicon metal oxide semiconductor materials and devices.