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5 February 2013

Soitec’s engineered substrates used in over half of smart phones and tablets

Soitec of Bernin, France, which makes engineered substrates - including silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafers and III-V epiwafers - as well as concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) solar systems, estimates that its engineered substrates (which are used in manufacturing semiconductors for mobile communications) are incorporated in at least 50% of smart phones and internet-connected tablet computers being produced today.

Soitec says that the widespread use of its materials technology in portable communications demonstrates its key role in high-volume, cost-sensitive applications such as cellular phones, tablets and other fast-growing markets involving mobile internet devices.

The firm’s wafer shipments for radio-frequency (RF) applications have increased by 400% in the last two years. By the end of its current fiscal year, Soitec will have shipped (between April 2012 and March 2013), more than 200,000 engineered wafers to customers making semiconductors for mobile communications. These wafers will produce about 2.5 billion ICs for front-end module applications, corresponding to half the 600 million smart phones and 100 million tablets expected to be produced this year, according to market projections.

According to market analysts, today most smart phones and tablets rely for their RF circuits on engineered substrates such as bonded silicon-on-sapphire (BSOS), high-resistivity (HR) silicon-on-insulator (SOI) and gallium arsenide (GaAs). These engineered substrates are in production to manufacture antenna switches, antenna tuners, power amplifiers and WiFi circuits. Soitec offers all these RF engineered substrates, which meet the requirements of leading-edge smart phone ICs – such as linearity, high mobility and isolation – at competitive costs.

“Approximately 30% of our microelectronics business is in the RF-based market,” says Soitec’s chief operating officer Paul Boudre. “Our technologies’ market penetration in smart phones and other RF-based communication devices proves that our engineered substrates are very competitive in price-sensitive consumer applications,” he claims.

Soitec’s Wave SOI high-resistivity substrates, gallium arsenide (GaAs) epitaxial wafers, bonded silicon-on-sapphire (BSOS) wafers and other layer-transfer technologies offer performance advantages in RF applications, the firm claims. The engineered substrates enable more functionality on smaller chips, lower power usage for longer battery life in portable electronics, and higher performance including faster throughput and wider range, it adds.

Tags: Soitec engineered substrates


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