Monolith Partners with X-FAB to offer SiC Power Devices by 2015June 02, 2014 by Jeff Shepard
Monolith Semiconductor Inc.has formed a strategic partnership with silicon-based analog/mixed-signal foundry X-FAB Texas Inc. to manufacture 150mm SiC wafers in a high-volume production line. Currently, the high cost of SiC devices has limited the widespread adoption of SiC power diodes and MOSFETs, Monolith said in a statement. The partnership aims to dramatically lower the cost, improve reliability and expand availability of SiC diodes and MOSFETs, enabling their widespread adoption in high-performance and high-efficiency power electronics systems. Monolith aims to offer 900-1700V SiC diodes and MOSFETs and is preparing for SiC power device sampling in early 2015.
â€œMonolithâ€™s revolutionary SiC MOSFET design and silicon-compatible processes enable manufacturing of highâ€performance and highly reliable SiC MOSFETs in a costâ€effective CMOS fab,â€ says the firmâ€™s CEO Sujit Banerjee. â€œX-FAB Texas has a long history of delivering high-quality semiconductor products to automotive and industrial customers,â€ he comments. â€œWe have already transitioned Monolithâ€™s SiC technology into X-FABâ€™s CMOS fab and have demonstrated 1200V SiC devices manufactured on 150mm SiC wafers.â€œ
Monolithâ€™s development of SiC devices is partially supported by the US Department of Energyâ€™s (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) SWITCHES program (â€˜Strategies for Wide-Bandgap, Inexpensive Transistors for Controlling High-Efficiency Systemsâ€™). â€œBy using existing silicon manufacturing infrastructure, we dramatically reduce the overhead costs to manufacture Monolithâ€™s SiC devices, and we reap the advantage of the highâ€yield manufacturing systems at X-FAB,â€ notes Monolithâ€™s president Kevin Matocha. â€œThe aggressive cost goal of the ARPA-E SWITCHES program has driven us to find new ways to dramatically reduce the production cost of SiC power MOSFETs,â€ he adds.
â€œThe SWITCHES program is designed to develop new wide-bandgap semiconductor devices promising increased switching frequency, enhanced high-temperature operation, and reduced power losses at substantially lower cost relative to today's solutions,â€ comments SWITCHES program director Tim Heidel. â€œWith SWITCHES just over six months under way, we are excited to see our project teams already beginning to show positive signs toward reaching their technical and market goals.â€
â€œWe are excited to be part of the institute which will further improve the manufacturability and cost of SiC power devices,â€ comments Andy Wilson, X-FABâ€™s director of strategic marketing. â€œWith X-FABâ€™s high-quality TS-16949 manufacturing capability, we are poised to support SiC power device manufacturing for Monolith Semiconductor,â€ he adds. â€œWe are fabricating SiC power devices using our existing 150mm silicon production facility, and this will break the primary cost barriers and allow proliferation of SiC power devices.â€