Soitec technology adopted by STMicroelectronics for future 200mm Silicon Carbide substrate production
Global semiconductor giant, STMicroelectronics and Soitec, a leading semiconductor materials manufacturer, recently announced the next stage of their cooperation on Silicon Carbide (SiC) substrates. ST qualified Soitec’s SmartSiC™ technology for its future 200mm substrate manufacturing planned over the next 18 months, feeding its devices and modules manufacturing business, with volume production expected in the midterm.
The official communication noted that 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. Notably, transitioning from 150mm to 200mm wafers will enable a substantial capacity enhancement, with almost twice the useful area for manufacturing integrated circuits, delivering 1.8 – 1.9x working chips per wafer.
SmartSiC is a proprietary Soitec technology which uses Soitec proprietary SmartCut™ technology, to split a thin layer of a SiC ‘donor’ wafer, and bond it on top of a low resistivity ‘handle’ polySiC wafer. The company claims that the engineered substrate improves device performance and manufacturing yields. The prime quality SiC ‘donor’ wafer can be reused, thus reducing the energy consumption required for production.
Soitec COO, Bernard Aspar commented: “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. 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.”
“The transition to 200mm 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,” remarked Marco Monti, President of the Automotive and Discrete Group at 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.”
With 48,000 creators and makers of semiconductor technologies, STMicroelectronics is working towards mastering the semiconductor supply chain with state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities. It is an integrated device manufacturer which designs and builds products, solutions, and ecosystems. ST is committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2027.
With over 3,700 patents, Soitec is a leading global company serving the electronics markets by designing and manufacturing innovative semiconductor materials. Soitec has manufacturing facilities, R&D centres and offices in Europe, US and Asia. Fully committed to sustainable development, Soitec adopted in 2021 its corporate purpose to reflect its engagements: “We are the innovative soil from which smart and energy efficient electronics grow into amazing and sustainable life experiences.”