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16 September 2014

Norstel and Ascatron ally to provide complete SiC epi offering

Ascatron AB of Kista (Stockholm) and Norrköping-based Norstel AB in Sweden have entered into a cooperation agreement to jointly address the market for silicon carbide (SiC) epitaxy.

Spun off in 2011 from microelectronics and optics research institute Acreo AB in Kista, Ascatron specializes in silicon carbide (SiC) epitaxial material and device design. Using 3DSiC technology, the firm provides the complete doping structure based on epitaxy, enabling material quality and device performance unattainable through current methods, it is claimed. With 10 staff in Sweden currently, Ascatron focuses on fast delivery of custom-designed epiwafers in small series for market verification and ramp up to large volume production. To support customer product development , it offers complete fabrication of device wafers and technology licensing.

Norstel manufactures conductive (n-type) and semi-insulating SiC substrates and related services such as single-crystal epitaxial layers deposited by chemical vapor deposition (CVD) as well as characterization and polishing for high-performance semiconductors used in power and high-frequency electronics. Applications include power electronic components used in hybrid cars, industrial equipment, power conversion and transmission, mobile phone base-stations and radar systems (where energy can be saved and performance improved by using SiC devices and related systems solutions).

Both Norstel and Ascatron are already providing SiC epitaxy to the power electronic industry. But, by utilizing and sharing their respective expertise, equipment and capabilities, the two firms expect to leverage their businesses. Another reason given for the cooperation is sharpened demand for high-performance epitaxy in terms of layer thickness, advanced structures and higher quality, driven by semiconductor device manufacturers targeting higher voltages, new device types and generally better yield in device fabrication.

While Norstel’s core offering is SiC crystal growth and SiC wafers including epitaxy for volume production, Ascatron specialty is customized SiC epitaxy and device design. “By combining the proven epitaxy production capacity of Norstel with our experience of advanced material, we will be able to serve all type of SiC epitaxy needs, from serial production of low-defect epi for Schottkys and MOSFETs, to R&D prototyping of thick epi with our unique buffer technology for future bipolar devices like IGBTs,” reckons Ascatron’s CEO Christian Vieider.

“We see the cooperation with Ascatron as a natural step to further utilize our capabilities in SiC epitaxy and to increase our market reach,” says Norstel’s president & acting CEO Per Zellman, underlining the strengths of a complete offering. “The companies have complementary capabilities and we are already cooperating successfully in projects like the EU project SPEED [Silicon Carbide Power Electronics Technology for Energy Efficient Devices] for new generations of high-power semiconductor devices.”

The new constellation is presently able to provide SiC epitaxial layers with both n- and p-doping up to 250mm thickness on wafers with diameters up to 100mm. Also, 150mm wafers will be supported soon.

See related items:

Progress on EU project SPEED being presented at CWIEME Berlin

Ascatron spun off from Sweden’s Acreo as first independent pure-play SiC foundry

Tags: SiC epitaxy SiC devices Power electronics

Visit: www.ascatron.com

Visit: www.norstel.com

Visit: www.speed-fp7.org

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