ST deal for 200mm SiC production

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

STMicroelectronics has extended its deal with French materials developer Soitec to start qualification of 200mm silicon carbide wafers for production.

ST is planning to use Soitec’s SmartSiC wafer technology for its future 200mm substrate manufacturing, feeding its devices and modules manufacturing business, with volume production expected in the midterm.

ST is building a pilot line in Catania, Italy, to produce 200mm SiC wafers alongside a fab to produce the devices, aiming at electric cars and renewable energy applications. This is part of a strategy to be a dominant supplier of SiC devices having absorbed Norwegian SiC wafer developer Norstel after its acquisition in 2019.

The proprietary SmartSiC  technology uses Soitec’s SmartCut approach, splitting a 350µm layer of a high quality SiC from a donor wafer and bonding it on top of a low resistivity polySiC wafer as a handling substrate.

The engineered substrate allows higher SiC transistor and diode performance and manufacturing yields. The high quality SiC donor wafer can also be reused multiple times, significantly reducing the overall energy consumption required to produce it. This is a key factor for the end-to-end approach that ST is taking in Catania.

 “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,” said Marco Monti, President Automotive and Discrete Group at ST.

“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 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 SmartSiC substrates with ST’s silicon carbide technology and expertise is a game-changer for automotive chip manufacturing that will set new standards.”; 


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