X-FAB and Soitec will begin work to offer Soitec’s SmartSiC™ wafers for the production of silicon carbide power devices at X-FAB’s plant in Lubbock, Texas. 

This collaboration follows the successful completion of the assessment phase, during which silicon carbide (SiC) power devices were manufactured at X-FAB Texas on 150mm SmartSiC™ wafers. Soitec will offer X-FAB’s customers easy access to the SmartSiC™ substrate through a joint supply chain consignment model.

X-FAB is the pioneer and leader of the foundry model in the fast-growing SiC market. Silicon carbide (SiC) is a disruptive compound semiconductor material with intrinsic properties providing superior performance and efficiency over silicon in power applications. 

SmartSiC™ is a proprietary Soitec technology based on the company’s SmartCut™ process, in which a thin layer of a high-quality monocrystalline (mono-SiC) ‘donor’ wafer is split off and bonded to a low resistivity polycrystalline (poly-SiC) ‘handle’ wafer. The resulting substrate offers improved device performance and manufacturing yields. The process allows multiple re-uses of a single donor wafer, significantly reducing cost and related CO2 emissions. 

In this fast-growing market, Soitec is ramping production of SmartSiC™ substrates at its new plant of Bernin, near Grenoble (France). X-FAB is increasing production capacity for SiC devices at the Lubbock plant. The use of the SmartSiC™ substrate enables X-FAB’s customers to design smaller devices, resulting in efficiency improvements through an increased number of dies per wafer. The benefit of reduced CO2 emissions from the substrate manufacturing process will also contribute to X-FAB’s initiative to reduce its overall carbon footprint.

Sophie Le-Guyadec VP Procurement of X-FAB, states: “As the leading SiC foundry, we want to provide our customers the full range of opportunities to design innovative and robust SiC devices for electric vehicles, renewable power and industrial applications. To offer the most advanced silicon carbide processes and manufacturing capabilities, we jointly agreed to provide our customers easy access to Soitec’s innovative SmartSiC™ via a consignment model.”

Emmanuel Sabonnadiere, Soitec Executive Vice President Automotive and Industry comments: “Soitec’s SmartSiC substrates and X-FAB’s foundry services are a perfect fit to meet increasing demand for new SiC products. This cooperation is a significant milestone for the deployment of SmartSiC in the U.S. market and internationally, thanks to X-FAB’s global footprint.”

Original – X-FAB