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The University of Arkansas in the US has broken ground on the new Multi-User Silicon Carbide Research and Fabrication Facility (MUSiC).

The new 18,660ft² semiconductor facility is being built for manufacturing microelectronic chips using silicon carbide.

Situated adjacent to the National Center for Reliable Electrical Power Transmission at the local research and technology park, the facility is set to overcome barriers to US competitiveness in advancing silicon-carbide electronics.

These electronics are utilised in different electronic devices, circuits, and other consumer applications.

The facility will have approximately 8,000ft² of clean rooms for both testing and fabrication purposes.

It will allow the federal government (through national laboratories), all-size businesses, and other universities to prototype silicon carbide, a service which is currently unavailable elsewhere in the country.

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The facility’s work will help address the current gap between traditional university research and private industry requirements.

It will also speed up technological progress by offering a single location where chips can progress from the developmental research stages to prototyping, testing, and eventual fabrication.

MUSiC’s principal investigator Alan Mantooth said: “This fills a gap for our nation, allowing companies, national laboratories and universities around the nation to develop the low-volume prototypes that go from their labs to fab, ultimately scaling up to the high-volume manufacturing.

“We fill that gap. And there’s no other place like it in the world. This is the only place that will be able to do that with silicon carbide.”