26 May 2023
Coherent and Mitsubishi Electric collaborating to scale manufacturing of silicon carbide power electronics
Materials, networking and laser technology firm Coherent Corp of Saxonburg, PA, USA (formerly II-VI Inc before it acquired Coherent in July 2022) and Tokyo-based Mitsubishi Electric Corp have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to collaborate on a program to scale manufacturing of silicon carbide (SiC) power electronics on a 200mm technology platform.
The market for electric vehicles (EVs) is expanding worldwide and is just one of several emerging applications driving the exponential growth in SiC power devices, which have lower energy losses, higher operating temperatures and higher switching speeds compared with silicon-based power devices. The high efficiency of SiC power devices is expected to be a significant contributor to global decarbonization and the green transformation.
To meet the rapidly growing demand, in March Mitsubishi Electric announced an investment of about 260bn yen in the five-year period to March 2026. Of this, about 100bn yen will be used to construct a new plant for SiC power devices, based on a 200mm-diameter wafer technology platform, and to enhance related production facilities. Under the MOU, Coherent will develop a supply of 200mm n-type 4H-SiC substrates for Mitsubishi Electric’s future SiC power devices manufactured at the new facility.
“We have a long track record of supplying SiC substrates to Mitsubishi Electric and are looking forward to expanding our relationship with them to scale their new 200mm SiC platform,” says Sohail Khan, executive VP, New Ventures & Wide-Bandgap Electronics Technologies at Coherent.
“Coherent has been for many years a reliable supplier of high-quality 150mm SiC wafer substrates to Mitsubishi Electric,” comments Masayoshi Takemi, executive officer, group president Semiconductor & Device, at Mitsubishi Electric. “We are delighted to enter into this close partnership with Coherent to scale our respective SiC manufacturing platforms to 200mm.”
Coherent says that (as II-VI Inc) it demonstrated what was claimed to be the first 200mm conductive SiC substrates in 2015. In 2019, the firm began to supply 200mm SiC substrates under REACTION, a Horizon 2020 four-year program funded by the European Commission.
Over the years, Mitsubishi Electric has supplied SiC power modules for high-speed trains, high-voltage industrial applications, and home appliances. The firm launched the first SiC power modules for air conditioners in 2010, and became the first supplier of a full-SiC power module for Shinkansen high-speed trains in 2015.