Cree & NY CREATES Announce First SiC Wafer Demonstration at SUNY Poly

October 24, 2019 by Paul Shepard

Cree, Inc. and New York Center for Research, Economic Advancement, Technology, Engineering, and Science (NY CREATES) have successfully completed the first silicon carbide (SiC) test wafers at the State University of New York Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly) Albany campus. Dedicated staff from both Cree and NY CREATES worked together on the tests, marking the start of collaborative efforts in Albany.

The line tests come just weeks after Cree announced plans to develop the world's-first, 200mm SiC wafer fabrication facility near Utica: the Mohawk Valley Fab. This test is key to ensuring the qualification of the fab for ongoing production when it ramps in 2022.

"This is a small but significant step toward a very promising future for the Mohawk Valley— signaling not only the beginning of our formal partnership with New York State, but also a preview of the groundbreaking work that is coming to the region," said Gregg Lowe, President and CEO of Cree. "Together, we're really excited to grow the silicon carbide industry as we support the automotive industry's transition from internal combustion engines to electric vehicles while also training the future innovative leaders of our field in the Mohawk Valley."

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"New York State has the right pieces in place for strong business partnership—infrastructure, research expertise, and an educated workforce—so that we can help companies quickly ramp up operations," said SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson. "We at The State University of New York are proud to lend our assistance to Cree through NY CREATES and SUNY Poly, and look forward to involving more of our students and faculty in a short period of time."

Full time staff from both organizations began working on the Albany campus of SUNY Poly in the first week after the announcement, and it's expected that combined staffing numbers will reach up to two dozen full-time staff working on the project by mid-November. Following this milestone, the first demonstration yielding 150mm silicon carbide test wafers is expected at SUNY Poly's Albany campus next year. Progress is also being made in the Mohawk Valley where the site of the new state-of-the-art fabrication facility is being prepared for construction to begin.

Cree has committed to create more than 600 new jobs within eight years and provide internships and research opportunities for SUNY students. The efforts help to develop an advanced manufacturing-oriented workforce development initiative across the SUNY system to prepare a 21st century workforce for the long-term, high-quality employment and advancement opportunities the new facility will present. SUNY has also committed to match up to $5 million in semiconductor-related research funding from Cree for the SUNY system.

Until the completion of the Mohawk Valley Fab, Cree is leasing space on the SUNY Poly's Albany campus to utilize equipment purchased as part of the New York Power Electronics Manufacturing Consortium (NY-PEMC). This will support plans to be the first company to successfully transition from producing devices on 150mm silicon carbide wafers. As the fab ramps, Cree will transfer the NY-PEMC equipment and its 200mm process to the Marcy Nanocenter, adjacent to SUNY Poly's Utica campus.