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University Spin-Off to Develop Semiconductor Power Devices

Clean room (Argonne National Lab)

(Argonne National Lab)

Anvil Semiconductors Ltd, a company created by University of Warwick in Coventry, U.K., will develop silicon carbide (SiC) semiconductor power switches that promise to be smaller and more efficient than devices built on traditional silicon. The company was founded by Warwick engineering faculty Phil Mawby and Peter Ward, who designed the company’s development technology in the university’s labs.

SiC devices are reportedly able to withstand higher voltages and currents and operate 10 times faster than traditional silicon devices. However, the devices are also about 10 times more expensive to produce, which has prevented the material from being widely adopted.

Anvil expects to develop these semiconductors with processes that return improvements in operating efficiency, size and, cost. The devices are used in power converters found in smart grids, electric cars, photovoltaic cells, and wind turbines. The company cites industry data that estimates the global power converter market value at $10 billion in 2009, growing to $23 billion in 2020.

The company has received an investment of £25,000 ($41,300) from Midven’s Early Advantage Fund that invests in small businesses in England’s West Midlands region. Anvil has also received £125,000 ($206,300) in investments from private investors Minerva, the Midlands network of entrepreneurs, venture capital companies, and angels.

Read more: Computer Engineers Boost Multi-Core Chip Performance

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