X-Fab to Double 6-Inch SiC Process Capacity

X-FAB Silicon Foundries SE of Tessenderlo, Belgium, plans to double their 6-inch Silicon Carbide (SiC) process capacity at its Lubbock, Texas fab to meet increased demand for high-efficiency power semiconductors. X-FAB’s Lubbock, Texas manufacturing site is certified for automotive manufacturing according to the new IATF-16949:2016 International Automotive Quality Management System (QMS).

X-FAB says that it has purchased a second heated ion implanter for fabricating 6-inch SiC wafers as part of the capacity increase. The firm expects the delivery of the heated ion implanter by the end of 2018 and intends to begin production in the first quarter of 2019 to meet predicted near-term demand.

The company asserts that advantages of its 6-inch SiC process capabilities for power semiconductors include superior high-voltage operation, significantly lower transmission and switching losses, significantly lower transistor On-resistance, higher thermal conductivity, extended high-temperature operation with temperatures as high as 400°F/204°C, very high-frequency operation, and lower parasitic capacitance. X-FAB also notes that its SiC processes let customers achieve high-efficiency power semiconductor devices including high power MOSFETs, Schottky diodes, and JFETs.

SiC power devices can be made smaller and with less weight and operate more efficiently than other power semiconductor technologies. Applications in which such performance enhancements are important include power converters in electric vehicles (EVs), switching power supplies, solar converters, and wind turbines. Also, high-temperature operation with SiC can improve reliability in hot industrial applications such as EV racecars, aircraft, and train locomotives. Additionally, making systems with reduced size and weight can be critical in portable medical equipment and Hybrid EVs (PHEVs).

According to Lloyd Whetzel, CEO of X-FAB Texas commented, “With the rising popularity of SiC we understood, early on, that increasing our ion implant capability would be critical to our continued manufacturing success in the SiC marketplace.”

X-FAB will showcase its technology at the European Conference on Silicon Carbide and Related Materials (ECSCRM 2018) in Birmingham U.K.