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8 May 2008


Fox licenses SiC patents to European firm

The Fox Group Inc of Deer Park, NY, USA has signed a non-exclusive license agreement with a European company for certain of its patents related to silicon carbide and bulk growth of compound semiconductor crystals.

“With our focus on UV LEDs [at its LED-making subsidiary in Montréal, Canada], Fox Group has discontinued product development in silicon carbide and has recently decided to offer rights to our SiC-related patents,“ says president and CEO Barney O’Meara. “Our scientists made significant R&D breakthroughs in the late 1990s that resulted in silicon carbide with no micropipes and very low defect density,” he adds. “Fox Group owns key patents covering low-defect single-crystal silicon carbide material having less than a specific level of defects, that is, patents for the material itself, regardless of the method of manufacture or of the equipment used.”

Fox Group’s chief technology officer Dr Heikki Helava adds, “The silicon carbide industry has steadily improved the quality of commercially available wafers so that the best silicon carbide now being sold appears to fall within the scope of these patents, as determined by independent testing.”

O’Meara continues, “We cannot divulge details of the license agreement, except to say that it is non-exclusive and includes sales-based royalties. We have been in contact with most silicon carbide manufacturers worldwide, and have met and discussed terms with more than half a dozen companies. Several of them have inquired about an exclusive license or outright purchase of this patent portfolio. We expect to conclude further patent rights agreements in the near future,” he concludes.

Low-defect-density SiC is being used in the production of high-performance power semiconductor devices, such as MOSFETs, HEMTs, JFETs, BJTs, and Schottky barrier and PIN diodes for applications including power control and correction (inverters, converters, etc). While the RF, optoelectronics, and detector markets can currently tolerate higher defect levels, all SiC manufacturers are working to produce better material, the firm says.

“By the time the SiC-based device market reaches $1bn annually – which is expected to occur within five years, for all applications combined – we believe that virtually all silicon carbide will be low defect and fall within the claims of our patents,” comments O’Meara.

See related item:

Fox Group’s LEDs to be distributed by AP Technologies in UK and Ireland

Search: Fox Group SiC UV LEDs