STMicroelectronics has manufactured its first 200mm (8in) Silicon-Carbide (SiC) bulk wafers for prototyping next-generation power devices from its facility in Norrköping, Sweden.
The transition to 200mm SiC wafers marks an important milestone in the capacity build-up for ST’s customer programs in automotive and industrial sectors.
Through its acquisition of Norstel in Sweden, now STMicroelectronics Silicon Carbide, the company has developed high quality SiC ingots with minimal crystal-dislocation defects.
The move to 200mm wafers also requires new equipment as the wafers are transparent and so difficult to fit into existing lithography process flows. The SiC wafers are also nearly as hard as diamond and so more difficult to cut in back-end processes. and ST says it is working with technology partners across the entire supply chain to develop its own 200mm SiC manufacturing equipment and processes.
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ST currently manufactures its high-volume STPOWER SiC products on two 150mm wafer lines in its fabs in Catania (Italy) and Ang Mo Kio (Singapore) and performs assembly and test at its back-end sites in Shenzhen (China) and Bouskoura (Morocco).
The company would not comment on where the 200mm line would be built, but it plans to build a new SiC substrate plant and source over 40 percent of its SiC substrates internally by 2024. This wold be alongside a deal with Cree, Rohm and other suppliers for wafers
“The transition to 200mm SiC wafers will bring substantial advantages to our automotive and industrial customers as they accelerate the transition towards electrification of their systems and products”, said Marco Monti, President Automotive and Discrete Group, STMicroelectronics.
“It is important in driving economies of scale as product volumes ramp. Building robust know-how in our internal SiC ecosystem across the full manufacturing chain, from high-quality SiC substrates to large-scale front- and back-end production, boosts our flexibility and allows us to better control the improvement of yield and quality of the wafers,” he said.
ST started working on SiC 25 years ago and has over 70 patents on the technology.
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