Silicon carbide (SiC), also referred to as carborundum, is one of the strongest, lightest, and hardest technological ceramic materials. It resists acids, has a low thermal expansion coefficient, and has outstanding thermal conductivity. Silicon carbide is a very promising material. You will get more useful information by reading this article.
History of Silicon Carbide
Silicon carbide was first discovered in 1893 by Henry Moissan. While examining different rock samples, he discovered the first moissanite gem in the Canyon Diablo (Arizona) crater. At first, he confused the stone with diamond ore due to the similar color and hardness. It wasn’t until 1904, on a second inspection of the stone, that he identified it as a new compound called silicon carbide.
Hard to Get
Silicon carbide, with the stoichiometric formula SiC, has an inner material matrix of pure silicon (Si) and carbon (C) elements. The origin of the original SiC mineral is sporadic as it is only found in small amounts in certain meteorites around the world. SiC was fabricated by hand until the 1950s, with poor techniques, impurities, and instability. After a period of industrial development and intense scientific evolution, it has become possible to synthesize silicon carbide semiconductors that can simulate and control high-temperature conditions in laboratories.
To Produce SiC Crystals
In 1978, large-scale production of SiC single crystals was achieved by physical vapor deposition (PVD). The silicon carbide produced by this method has no instability problem and no impurity problem.
Another way to make silicon carbide is the Lely procedure, which involves heating silica sand and coal by induction at 2,500 degrees Celsius until a gaseous mixture forms, in which silicon carbide powder forms.
The production cost of silicon carbide single crystal is low, but the produced material can be applied in various fields. , the success of SiC crystallization represents a significant interest in the current industry, making it a highly desirable material to this day.
Different Forms of SiC Materials
- Polycrystalline silicon carbide can be used as a substrate and sputtering target in the thin film industry, and is also used in the manufacture of advanced ceramic compounds.
- Nanocrystalline silicon carbide as a material additive can affect the electrical conductivity and heat resistance of the entire material.
- Amorphous silicon carbide can adjust the Si and C stoichiometry changes, increasing the versatility of SiC. The material show novel responses to electrical and magnetic resonance, allowing unexplored dielectric metamaterial designs.
- High-quality silicon carbide is used in optoelectronics due to its low defects, revealing advanced growth routes that affect current quantum technologies.
- Silicon carbide nanoparticles have a photoluminescent effect. It has been used to improve the spectral response of the external/internal quantum efficiency of solar cells.
- The silicon carbide porous membrane on the silicon substrate can be used as an ultraviolet sensor and filter, which is very sensitive.
Applications of Silicon Carbide
Silicon carbide is an important compound for its flexibility in the field of semiconductors, and it functions in two main forms. Doping SiC with nitrogen or phosphorus produces an n-type semiconductor; adding concentrations of beryllium, boron, aluminum or gallium produces a p-type semiconductor.
Since silicon carbide has tunable light absorption and emission, they are used as solar cells, UV sensors for a variety of harsh environments, LEDs and switches in power distribution systems.
Silicon carbide has high thermal conductivity, high melting point and good chemical stability, and can be used to manufacture high-temperature turbine engines and high-temperature gas detectors.
It is used in mechanical protective coatings because of its mechanical properties of low friction and high hardness. It can also be used as a brace material in extreme conditions and as a trauma plate for bulletproof vests.
Pure SiC is transparent, hard, bright, high gloss, strong birefringence, good elasticity. Therefore it can also be counted as a gem and worn as an ornament.
The potential of silicon carbide is demonstrated by observing changes in manufacturing and production over the years until today. SiC is a core player in the semiconductor industry. It is expected that silicon carbide will gain more development in the future.