Soitec expands SiC and SOI wafer production in France
Soitec is expand its manufacturing plant in France to produce new silicon carbide (SiC) wafers and increase its silicon on insulator (SOI) capabilities.
A new plant in Bernin, Gernoble, will be used to ramp up overall production and later manufacture SmartSiC wafers for electric vehicles and renewable energy applications. Supply of wafers, particularly for SiC, is a key issue for sovereignty of supply in Eurpe.
The plant will be primarily used to manufacture new silicon carbide wafers but will also support Soitec’s 300-mm Silicon-on-Insulator (SOI) activities.
“This investment is a major milestone for us as SmartSiC is set to be another growth engine for Soitec, and a driver of the transformation of the automotive and industrial markets,” said Paul Boudre, CEO of Soitec.
“We expect that by 2030, around 40% of all new cars will be electric. Our unique, highly performant, sustainable and cost competitive SmartSiC solution addresses the industrial challenges, helps to optimize energy efficiency, and will accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles.”
The SmartSiC engineered wafers were developed at the Substrate Innovation Centre at CEA-Leti in Grenoble using Soitec’s proprietary SmartCut technology.
This takes a layer from one SiC wafer and bonds it to another wafer with different bulk characteristics to create a hybrid. Using this wafer bonding technology from SOI can provide ten times more high quality wafers form a single boule, says Boudre.
Soitec is engaged with major silicon carbide device makers and aims to generate first revenues from the wafers in the second half of 2023.
The company has also signed a three year collaboration deal with Phelma, Engineering school in Physics, Electronics and Materials Science of Université Grenoble Alpes to boost its supply of staff.
“Soitec has an obvious connection with certain programs at Phelma, such as Electrochemistry and Processes for Energy and the Environment (EPEE), Physical Engineering for Photonics and Microelectronics (IPhy), Materials Science and Engineering (SIM), as well as the international Advanced Materials and Nanotech programs,” said Anne Vilcot, Director of Grenoble INP – Phelma, UGA.
The deal will help Phelma’s students and graduates to kickstart their careers by offering internships, jobs, and international work experience at Soitec.
“Phelma is a leading school for microelectronics students. Through the partnership, we want to play our part in training the engineers who will support Soitec’s future growth,” said Pascal Lobry, EVP People and Sustainability at Soitec.
“We strive to build close relationships with our partners in all of our regions, which is why we are joining forces with Phelma,” said Michaël Fièvre, Director of the Bernin site.
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