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8 December 2008


SDK acquiring ESICAT's SiC epiwafer business

In response to growing demand for power device applications, Tokyo-based Showa Denko K.K. (SDK) has agreed that, by the end of this year, it will acquire the silicon carbide (SiC) epitaxial wafer business of ESICAT Japan LLP of Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan.

Picture: ESICAT’s 2-, 3-, and 4-inch SiC epiwafers.

ESICAT was founded in September 2005 by six individual partners, together with SDK, to use proprietary technology owned by SDK, Japan’s National Institute for Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) and the Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry (CRIEPI) to develop commercial production of SiC epiwafers for power device applications. AIST supported ESICAT as one of its ‘technology transfer ventures’, allowing the use of its intellectual property and facilities as well as providing information. ESICAT began selling SiC epiwafers in November 2006, and now supplies 2-, 3- and 4-inch wafers. 

SDK and ESICAT say that they have agreed the take-over with a view to expanding the business and encouraging growth in the SiC epiwafer market for power device applications. 

Compared with conventional silicon-based devices, SiC-based devices have better performance and are expected to be used increasingly in power conversion devices and inverter modules in electric power, automotive, railroad, and electrical appliance markets. However, says SDK, the development of SiC devices has been delayed because of the lack of a stable supply of high-quality SiC epiwafers in Japan. 

SDK says that it is focusing on R&D of new products that will drive future growth, concentrating managerial resources on six SMU (strategic market unit) projects. The firm adds that developing SiC epiwafers for power devices is one of the key subjects in its R&D strategy.

*ESICAT is presenting its products at an exhibition sponsored by the Japan Society of Applied Physics’ professional group for silicon carbide and related wide band gap semiconductors (8-9 December) at Plaza Industry Ota, Tokyo.

See related items:

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SDK establishes Taiwan LED sales subsidiary

Showa Denko extends 100mm SiC epiwafer production

SDK starts shipping 80lm/W red LED chips

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