NY-PEMC Fabs Initial 150mm SiC-Based Patterned Wafers

February 12, 2017 by Jeff Shepard

The New York Power Electronics Manufacturing Consortium (NY-PEMC) at SUNY Polytechnic Institute's (SUNY Poly) Albany NanoTech Complex announced today that it has reached a major milestone with the successful production of its first SiC-based patterned wafer. Utilizing lithography, a process used to create the layers of insulating and conducting materials that comprise working computer chips, the wafer was produced by SUNY Poly's 150 mm SiC processing line, the first in the United States dedicated to the SiC wafer platform.

“We are proud that the New York Power Electronics Manufacturing Consortium, led by SUNY Poly, in partnership with New York State and with founding member General Electric, is fast approaching production strength for power electronics,” said Dr. Bahgat Sammakia, Interim President of SUNY Polytechnic Institute. “We look forward to continuing to collaborate with GE, New York State, and Empire State Development as SUNY Poly provides SiC wafer production capabilities at its Albany campus, and complementary packaging at its Utica campus, supporting a unique synergy for high-tech research, development, and deployment.”

“This is a significant milestone that brings the NY-PEMC another step closer to full production and realizing the initiative’s potential to create well-paying, high-tech jobs across Upstate New York,” said Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky. “By tapping into the state’s skilled workforce and our world-class research and development centers, this public-private partnership will further solidify Upstate New York as the epicenter of developing and producing next generation chip technologies. We commend our partners at SUNY Poly and GE on this achievement, and look forward to the new jobs and economic opportunity the NY-PEMC will generate in the years to come.”

“As the SiC-based wafer production line continues to advance its capabilities, including reaching this production milestone, General Electric values our strong partnership with SUNY Polytechnic Institute and New York State,” said Danielle Merfeld, Vice President and Niskayuna Site Leader at GE Global Research. “Through the Power Electronics Manufacturing Consortium, we have an opportunity to place the Capital Region, Utica and Upstate New York at the center of the next revolution in power efficiency for electrical machines and systems of all kinds.”

This accomplishment is the first step in the qualification of MOSFET production for power electronics applications by the SUNY Poly SiC processing line, which is considered critical because MOSFETs are the most ubiquitous transistors currently in use. SiC-based chips provide next-generation capabilities by enabling power devices to get smaller, faster, and more efficient as the current material, silicon, reaches its physical limits.

For example, SiC-based power electronic devices have the capacity to handle much higher frequencies and temperatures than Si-based devices, which decreases the size and cost for filtering and cooling systems that often must be included as part of an overall system. Additionally, the SiC devices can be half the size of similar Si devices, providing increased power density and reliability. With the improved qualities, SiC-based power devices can enhance a wide range of applications, including in the automotive, clean energy, and aeronautics industries, for example.

“The first lot start and first patterned wafer are two goals that have now been achieved, signifying a powerful first step for the PEMC and its production of SiC-based wafers, which is a testament to the unmatched resources and expertise of the New York-PEMC, founding member GE, and SUNY Poly,” said Dr. Jeffrey Hedrick, Principal Investigator for NY-PEMC and Vice President of SUNY Polytechnic Institute. “We look forward to even more technological achievements as the NY-PEMC further develops the leading-edge SiC-focused capabilities, and I congratulate the PEMC team for their important work.”

SUNY Poly and GE lead the consortium with the goal of developing and producing low cost, high performance 6” SiC wafers. The NY-PEMC is a public-private partnership announced in 2014. SUNY Poly’s 150 mm SiC fab is located at the institution’s Albany NanoTech Complex, with production coordinated with SUNY Poly’s Computer Chip Commercialization Center (Quad-C), located at its Utica campus, where the SiC-based power chips will be packaged, a process that combines them with a housing that allows for interconnection with an application.