1 December 2021
Soitec acquires NOVASiC to aid industrialization of SmartSiC for automotive and industrial markets
Engineered substrate manufacturer Soitec of Bernin, near Grenoble, France has acquired NOVASiC of Savoie Technolac, France, which specializes in polishing and reclaiming wafers on silicon carbide (SiC). Soitec says that the acquisition allows it to drive the development of semiconductors for power supply systems in electro-mobility and industrial applications. The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of 2021.
In a strategic move to address the need of the automotive and industrial markets for performance and energy efficiency, Soitec is expanding its product portfolio beyond silicon-on-insulator (SOI) with silicon carbide, which it says unlocks greater performance, optimized design and lower environmental impact for power electronics (particularly in electric vehicles and other power-efficient applications).
Soitec reckons that SmartSiC substrates, resulting from the application of its patented proprietary technology SmartCut to SiC, will enable new levels of performance and energy efficiency compared with traditional bulk SiC, through higher donor wafer re-usability, improved yields and lower die sizes. In addition to reducing silicon carbide’s environmental impact in its production process, SmartSiC is targeted at being a catalyst to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs). SmartSiC is currently at the prototyping level for devices with several key partners.
Established in 1995 near Grenoble, NOVASiC provides wafering, reclaiming and polishing services for high-performance semiconductors and industrial crystals to laboratories and industrial customers, with a particular focus on silicon carbide. The firm has developed polishing processes that are said to allow enhanced device performance with a scratch-free, low-roughness, ultra-clean epiready surface, and no damaged layers.
With the acquisition, NOVASiC’s CEO Didier Marsan will become senior technical advisor for Soitec.
“Soitec’s SmartSiC substrates will be the backbone of energy-efficient electro-mobility,” claims Soitec’s chief operating officer Bernard Aspar. “The acquisition of NOVASiC and the integration of its expertise in wafering, polishing and reclaiming brings the latest technology building block for Soitec to deliver an optimal final product and prepare the industrialization phase of our SmartSiC product line. The expertise of NOVASiC will help us further accelerate the go-to-market and adoption of our smart silicon carbide applications in the promising and demanding automotive and industrial markets,” he adds.
“We look forward to providing our expertise to support the roadmap of Soitec’s new, very promising product line, and to contributing to the adoption of Soitec’s smart silicon carbide solutions,” says Marsan.