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Growing SiC Demand Elicits New Components and Production Facilities

December 09, 2023 by Darshil Patel

In this roundup, we highlight how Onsemi, Mitsubishi Electric, and ST have each expanded their SiC capacity.

While analysts have placed the market value of silicon carbide at $1.8B in 2023, this figure is expected to leap to $11.1B within the next five years. In the semiconductor industry, this ever-growing interest in SiC manifests as expanded production facilities, supply partnerships, and, of course, a swell of new SiC-based components. 

 

ST's new 1,200V SiC MOSFETs

ST's new dual in-line, molded, through-hole, 32-pin power module. Image (modified) used courtesy of STMicroelectronics
 

In this article, we will discuss three SiC-related announcements that highlight how this wide-bandgap technology is progressing at both the production and board level. 

 

Onsemi Expands SiC Production Facility

In late October, Onsemi announced the completion of the so-called world's largest SiC fabrication facility in Bucheon, South Korea. At its maximum capacity, the facility could manufacture up to one million 200 mm SiC wafers annually.

 

Bucheon, South Korea, SiC fabrication facility

Onsemi representatives celebrate the completed expansion of its Bucheon, South Korea, SiC fabrication facility. Image (modified) used courtesy of Onsemi
 

With this expansion, Onsemi intends to build a vertically integrated SiC manufacturing supply chain at brownfield locations, which maintains strict quality control standards at every stage of the manufacturing process. This approach can quickly scale up the production of SiC-based components for various applications, including power electronics and automotive technology.

The Bucheon facility will soon begin producing 150 mm wafers and will convert to 200 mm in 2025 when the 200 mm SiC process is qualified.

 

Mitsubishi to Invest in Coherent's SiC Products

For its part, Mitsubishi Electric announced an investment of $500M in a new SiC business born from Coherent, a developer of materials, networking, and laser technology. This new investment will further establish Mitsubishi's SiC power device business and deepen its existing ties with Coherent.

Mitsubishi Electric has been purchasing 150 mm SiC substrates from Coherent for several years to produce SiC power modules. Now, the company aims to invest $664.7M to construct a new 200 mm SiC wafer plant in Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan, starting in 2026.

 

Some of Coherent's SiC offerings

Some of Coherent's SiC offerings. Image used courtesy of Coherent
 

To prepare for the expected increase in demand for SiC power modules, the company is taking proactive steps to stabilize its SiC substrate requirement. This investment will ensure that the company is well-equipped to meet the growing needs of its customers and maintain its position as a leading provider in the industry.

 

ST Offers Flexible Package Options for SiC Power Modules

For its part, STMicroelectronics ranks as the largest SiC semiconductor supplier to the market—see comments section below for more information.

STMicro released its ACEPACK DMT-32 family of silicon carbide (SiC) power modules targeted for automotive onboard chargers, DC-DC converters, fluid pumps, and air conditioning systems. The devices (datasheet linked) are housed in a 32-pin, dual-inline, molded, through-hole package. System designers can select from four-pack, six-pack, and totem-pole configurations. Different automotive systems may have varying power and size requirements, and having a choice of package configurations means designers can match modules to the unique needs of their project.

 

ST's 1200 V SiC MOSFET-based converter topologies

ST's 1,200 V SiC MOSFET-based converter topologies: fourpack, sixpack, and totem pole. Image used courtesy of STMicroelectronics
 

The new modules consist of 1,200 V SiC MOSFETs with low on-resistance and minimal temperature dependence. The module packages feature an aluminum nitride (AlN) insulated substrate for good thermal performance. They also integrate NTC sensors to monitor temperature in the thermal protection circuit.

 


 

Has the expansion of wide bandgap semiconductors affected your design process in recent years? Share your experiences in the comments below.

1 Comment
  • oldnslow December 12, 2023

    While this article highlights “three SiC-related announcements,” it mixes apples and oranges without providing useful context to help readers understand the market. Had the author asked, we might have explained that ST is the largest supplier of SiC semiconductors to the market, has been in volume production of SiC since 2016 in automotive, is currently delivering our 3rd-generation technology and planning to soon qualify the 4th-gen technology, has multiple long-term supply agreements with several substrate suppliers, is building the internal capacity to manufacture at least 40% of its substrate needs in both 150mm and 200mm by 2024, and has the ambition to reach $5B in SiC revenue by 2030.

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