X-FAB and Soitec team up

24th May 2024
Caitlin Gittins

X-FAB and Soitec are set to collaborate on offering Soitec’s SmartSiC wafers for the production of silicon carbide power devices at the former's facility in Lubbock, Texas.

Following the successful completion of the assessment phase, wherein silicon carbide (SiC) power devices were fabricated at X-FAB Texas using 150mm SmartSiC wafers, the two entities will facilitate easy access to the SmartSiC substrate for X-FAB’s customers through a joint supply chain consignment model.

X-FAB holds a pioneering position as the leader of the foundry model in the rapidly expanding SiC market. Silicon carbide (SiC) stands as a disruptive compound semiconductor material, offering intrinsic properties that deliver superior performance and efficiency compared to silicon in power applications.

SmartSiC represents an exclusive Soitec technology founded on the company’s SmartCut process. This method involves the separation of a thin layer of high-quality monocrystalline (mono-SiC) ‘donor’ wafer, which is then bonded to a low resistivity polycrystalline (poly-SiC) ‘handle’ wafer. The resultant substrate exhibits enhanced device performance and manufacturing yields. Moreover, the process allows for multiple re-uses of a single donor wafer, substantially reducing costs and associated CO2 emissions.

Amidst this growing market, Soitec is scaling up the production of SmartSiC substrates at its new facility in Bernin, near Grenoble, France. Concurrently, X-FAB is augmenting production capacity for SiC devices at its Lubbock plant. The adoption of the SmartSiC substrate empowers X-FAB’s customers to develop compact devices, leading to efficiency enhancements through an increased number of dies per wafer. Furthermore, the reduction in CO2 emissions from the substrate manufacturing process aligns with X-FAB's commitment to curbing its overall carbon footprint

Sophie Le-Guyadec VP Procurement of X-FAB, said: “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 added: “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.”

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