Research from Griffith University suggests that using silicon carbide as a semiconductor for mechanical and electrical sensor devices shows promise for improved operations and safety in dangerous work conditions.

The findings were published in the Journal of Materials Chemistry C, and show the effect of mechanical strain on the electrical conductivity of silicon carbide deposited on silicon wafer.

Silicon has been the dominant material used as a semiconductor for sensing devices for the past 50 years, but Dr. Dzung Dao from Griffith’s School of Engineering says that silicon is not suitable for electronic devices at temperatures above 200°C.

Silicon carbide possesses "excellent mechanical strength, chemical inertness, thermal durability and electrical stability due to its unique electronic structure,” Dao says. As a result, it holds promise as the material for high-performance sensors in deep-oil exploration and coal mining, combustion engines, energy conversion devices and so on.

"In areas where the temperature can reach well above 200°C, chemical corrosion and mechanical shock are extreme," Dao says. "That's where silicon carbide comes in.”

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