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Theo McCarthy

Research Postgraduate – Electrical Power Node

Research Postgraduate – Electrical Power Node in the Department of Engineering


Theo is undertaking a PhD in the Electrical Power node in the department of engineering. He graduated from Durham University with a first-class MEng degree in Electrical Engineering in 2022. In his final year, Theo undertook a dissertation-project supervised by Professor Alton Horsfall looking at the effect of temperature on short-circuit failures in SiC MOSFETs. He currently works in in the Quantum technology and Power Electronics Laboratory. 

Research Project

Silicon carbide (SiC) is a promising wide band-gap semiconductor with properties that make it more desirable for extreme environment electronic components. Compared to Silicon (Si), SiC can withstand higher temperatures due to increased thermal conductivity, the wider band-gap gives SiC a higher break-down voltage and SiC is known to have increased hardness to radiation. However, SiC is yet to undergo the rigorous scrutiny that has been applied to Si.

Theo's research aims to experimentally asses the long-term reliability impacts of single event effects in SiC devices. He aims to contrast his results with previous simulation data. This work is particularly pertinent to aviation and aerospace applications where the levels of radiation and therefore the risk of single event effects are much greater. The project is funded and supported by Rolls Royce Aerospace, supervised by Professor Alton Horsfall and Professor John Girkin, and has technical support from the electronics technician team in the engineering department.

Esteem Indicators

  • 2022: IMechE Best Project Certificate: Awarded for academic achievement in the final year project.
  • 2022: IET Northumbria Branch Power Student Prize: Awarded to an outstanding student in either the final or penultimate year in the electrical engineering degree programme.
  • 2022: Power Engineering Prize: Awarded to the undergraduate for the best performance over the final and penultimate year of the degree programme