SDK to Expand Capacity for High-Grade SiC Epitaxial Wafers

September 14, 2017 by Paul Shepard

Showa Denko (SDK) will increase manufacturing capacity for its high-quality-grade silicon carbide (SiC) epitaxial wafer for power devices from the current 3,000 to 5,000 wafers per month. Currently on the market under the trade-name "High-Grade Epi" (HGE), the expanded facility will become operational in April 2018.

SiC-based power devices can operate in high-temperature, high-voltage and high-current conditions while substantially conserving energy, and enable smaller, lighter and more energy-efficient next-generation power control modules.

SiC power devices are used as power sources for servers in data centers and in distributed power supply systems for new energies, while use in inverter modules for railcars and quick charging stations for electric vehicles has increased. The SiC power device market is expected to grow at an annual rate of 27% by 2020.

Power modules for high-voltage, high-current applications mainly contain devices with the structure of SBD (Schottky Barrier Diode) and transistors with the structure of MOSFET (Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor Filed-Effect Transistor).

While manufacturers go into mass production of SiC-SBD, practical application of SiC-MOSFET required further reduction in various types of surface and crystal defects.

In HGE by SDK, the number of basal plane dislocation (BPD), a typical crystal defect, is controlled within 0.1/cm2. Since its release in October 2015, HGE has been used as a key component in SiC-SBD, and is increasingly used by device manufacturers in SiC-MOSFET.

SDK is expanding its HGE production capacity as facilities are fully operational at present and we expect a stronger market for SiC-MOSFET in 2018 and beyond.

The size of the market for SiC epitaxial wafers for power devices is expected to reach 20 billion yen in 2020. SDK will continue to meet demand in the market for high-quality SiC epitaxial wafer, aiming to contribute to improvement in the energy efficiency of power devices.