19 March 2020
X-FAB further expands SiC capacity and adds new in-house epi capabilities
Analog/mixed-signal, micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) and specialty foundry X-FAB Silicon Foundries SE of Tessenderlo, Belgium is now offering silicon carbide (SiC) foundry services at the scale of silicon, becoming the first pure-play foundry to add internal SiC epitaxy capabilities. The firm says that, with its proven ability to run silicon and SiC on the same manufacturing line, customers have access to high-quality and cost-effective foundry. X-FAB aims to further expand its SiC capacity and, with the 26,000 wafers per month capacity at its facility in Lubbock, TX, USA, has the platform to meet growing customers demand, it reckons.
By offering in-house epitaxy, X-FAB is taking control of an additional part of the process chain. This should result in better lead times, so customers’ products are faster in getting to market. Through the new epitaxy toolset (which comes with an option for dual epilayer implementations), X-FAB should be able to achieve greater epilayer uniformity, increasing device performance parameters and overall yield. The firm is also undertaking further investments in characterization tools to improve the epilayer quality, and is working with substrate manufacturers to ensure the long-term continuity of supply for essential raw materials.
With X-FAB’s site in Lubbock focused on serving the SiC market, the company is prepared for the expected acceleration of SiC device shipments, enabling key applications such as electric vehicles (EVs) and advanced power management systems. It will allow customers to import their SiC projects into a stable and trusted, fully automotive-qualified fab environment that supports output levels that are comparable with those of integrated device manufacturers (IDMs), adds the firm.
“We have already demonstrated our SiC onboarding credentials, with numerous high-volume projects for diodes, metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistors (MOSFETs) and junction field-effect transistors (JFETs) all currently running, and these are paving the way towards mass-market adoption,” says Ed Pascasio, chief financial officer at X-FAB Texas. “By making even more capacity available for SiC, we will be able to keep up with demand requirements as this technology matures. Also, with all the necessary epitaxy expertise now located internally, X-FAB is in a unique position to control every aspect of SiC production,” he adds. “Our engineering team has direct influence across the whole process, and this will translate into best-value performance and quality as well as more attractive price points.”