Showa Denko (SDK) (TOKYO: 4004) has decided to expand its capacity for producing high-quality-grade silicon carbide (SiC) epitaxial wafers for power devices, which have already been marketed under the trade name of “High-Grade Epi” (HGE). SDK will expand its facilities to produce HGE to increase their production capacity from current 3,000 wafers per month to 5,000 wafers per month*1 . Expanded facilities will start operation in April 2018.
When compared with the mainstream silicon-based semiconductors, SiC-based power devices can operate under high-temperature, high-voltage, and high-current conditions, while substantially conserving energy. These features enable the production of smaller, lighter, and more energy-efficient next-generation power control modules. SiC power devices are already used as power sources of servers for data centers, and distributed power supply systems for new energies. Moreover, applications of SiC power devices to inverter modules for railcars and quick charging stations for electric vehicles are in progress in recent years. Thus the size of the market for SiC power devices is expected to achieve an annual rate of 27% of significant growth until 2020*2.
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)*3. 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 developed by SDK, the number of basal plane dislocation (BPD)*4, which is typical crystal defect, is controlled to be within 0.1/cm2. Since the launch in October 2015, HGE has been acclaimed by many device manufacturers at home and abroad, and adopted as a key component of SiC-SBD. In addition, HGE is adopted more and more by device manufacturers as a key component to develop SiC-MOSFET for practical use. This time, SDK decided to expand its capacity to produce HGE because SDK’s facilities to produce HGE are operating at full capacity these days and we expect that the market for SiC-MOSFET will start to take-off in and after 2018.
The size of the market for SiC epitaxial wafers for power devices is expected to reach 20 billion in 2020*5 as the early use of SiC power devices in vehicles is under consideration. SDK will continue meeting the need of the market for high-quality SiC epitaxial wafers, aiming to contribute to the improvement in energy efficiency of power devices.
*1 This number is based on a conversion into SiC epitaxial wafers for power devices having withstanding voltage of 1,200 V.
*2 “Reality and Future Prospect of Next Generation Power Device and Power Electronics Related Apparatus Market 2017,” published by Fuji Keizai Co., Ltd.
*3 MOSFET: metal oxide semiconductor field effect transistor
MOSFET is good to be used in logic circuits that require high-speed switching, because its rate of power loss is small.
*4 Basal plane dislocation: Dislocation that occurs on a basal plane of a single crystal SiC.
*5 Estimated by SDK.
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