STMicroelectronics, a global semiconductor leader serving customers across the spectrum of electronics applications, and Soitec, a leader in designing and manufacturing innovative semiconductor materials, announce the next stage of their cooperation on Silicon Carbide (SiC) substrates, with the qualification of Soitec’s SiC substrate technology by ST planned over the next 18 months. The goal of this cooperation is the adoption by ST of Soitec’s SmartSiC technology for its future 200 mm substrate manufacturing, feeding its devices and modules manufacturing business, with volume production expected in the midterm.
“The transition to 200 mm SiC wafers will bring substantial advantages to our automotive and industrial customers as they accelerate the transition toward electrification of their systems and products. It is important in driving economies of scale as product volumes ramp,” said Marco Monti, President of Automotive and Discrete Group, STMicroelectronics. “We have chosen a vertically integrated model to maximize our know-how across the full manufacturing chain, from high-quality substrates to large-scale front- and back-end production. The goal of the technology cooperation with Soitec is to continue to improve our manufacturing yields and quality.”
“The automotive industry is facing major disruption with the advent of electric vehicles. Our cutting-edge SmartSiC technology, which adapts our unique SmartCut process to silicon carbide semiconductors, will play a key role in accelerating their adoption,” said Bernard Aspar, Chief Operating Officer of Soitec. “The combination of Soitec’s SmartSiC substrates with STMicroelectronics’ industry-leading silicon carbide technology and expertise is a game-changer for automotive chip manufacturing that will set new standards.”
Silicon Carbide (SiC) is a disruptive compound semiconductor material with intrinsic properties providing superior performance and efficiency over silicon in key, high-growth power applications for electric mobility and industrial processes, among others. It allows for more efficient power conversion, lighter and more compact designs, and overall system-design cost savings – all key parameters and factors for success in automotive and industrial systems. Transitioning from 150 mm to 200 mm wafers will enable a substantial capacity increase, with almost twice the useful area for manufacturing integrated circuits, delivering 1.8 – 1.9 times as many working chips per wafer.
SmartSiC is a proprietary Soitec technology that uses Soitec proprietary SmartCut technology, to split a thin layer of a high-quality SiC ‘donor’ wafer, and bond it on top of a low resistivity ‘handle’ polySiC wafer. The engineered substrate then improves device performance and manufacturing yields. The prime quality SiC ‘donor’ wafer can be reused multiple times, significantly reducing the overall energy consumption required to produce it.