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Piezoresistive Characteristics of Silicon Carbide for Integrated Sensor Applications...

Publication Type
Conference Paper
Book Title
Nuclear Plant Instrumentation, Control, and Human-Machine Interface Technolgies (NPIC&HMIT 2019)
Publication Date
Page Numbers
1416 to 1424
Conference Name
11th Nuclear Plant Instrumentation, Control and Human-Machine Interface Technologies (NPIC&HMIT 2019)
Conference Location
Orlando, Florida, United States of America
Conference Sponsor
American Nuclear Society
Conference Date

Successful ubiquitous deployment of advanced reactors will depend to a large extent on the development of high-performance materials and sensors. Recently, there has been increasing interest in advanced reactors operating at very high temperatures (greater than 700 °C) and using molten salts as the primary coolant. In such reactor systems, temperature and pressure measurements are conducted using standard legacy thermocouples and pressure measurement technologies, both of which suffer from resolution issues, inaccuracies, and drift under harsh operating temperature and radiation conditions. We report on the structural, electrical, and mechanical characteristics of SiC materials and devices for the development of an integrated monolithic sensor unit capable of simultaneously monitoring temperature, pressure and flow in molten salt reactors, while at the same time exhibiting significant improvements in resolution, accuracy and signal-to-noise ratio.

Wide bandgap and chemical inertness of SiC make it suitable for harsh environment sensor applications. We report on the development of a SiC pressure sensor exploiting its piezoresistive properties. Attempts have been made to fabricate thermally stable pressure sensor through doping induced high gauge factor. Both implanted and in-situ doped SiC wafers are being investigated to analyze the impact of dopant type and concentration on the piezoresistive characteristics. The microstructure, composition, and electrical conductivity of SiC samples have been analyzed to find optimum dopant incorporation and activation conditions. The mechanical measurements are being conducted on SiC beams with photolithographically defined surface piezoresistors to establish gauge factor for high performance sensors that can operate at temperatures beyond the limits of conventional silicon CMOS materials and devices.