For several years the major focus of material issues in SiC substrates was laid on the reduction of macroscopic defects like polytype inclusions, low angle grain boundaries and micropipes. Since then significant improvements have been achieved and micropipe densities could be reduced to values below 1 cm-2. Nevertheless the fabrication of high quality substrates at high volume and low cost is still challenging. Therefore preconditions for reproducible process and quality control will be discussed. Since it is obvious that dislocations are the main reason for degradation in power devices the prevailing attention has also been shifted to that field of material research. Intense studies were utilized on dislocation and stacking fault formation during sublimation growth. For this reason we systematically varied crucial parameters of the crystal growth process and applied several specific characterization methods, e.g. KOH-defect-etching, electron microscopy and optical microscopy, to evaluate resulting material properties. The investigations were accompanied by failure analysis on devices of the Schottky-type. We found out that for the improvement of substrate quality emphasis has to be laid on the reduction of thermoelastic stress in the growing crystal. The results of numerical calculations enabled us to derive moderate growth conditions with reduced temperature gradients and correspondingly low defect concentration.