|IDMs, Taiwan IC firms gearing up to develop car-use SiC power devices|
Julian Ho, Taipei; Willis Ke, DIGITIMES Monday 23 April 2018 0 Toggle Dropdown
With silicon carbide (SiC) emerging as an increasingly popular third-generation semiconductor material for car-use power devices and 5G networks, international major IDMs such as Japan's Rohm Semiconductor and Taiwan players are aggressively moving to develop SiC-based devices.
Industry sources said that Rohm Semiconductor is the world's first semiconductor firm to volume produce SiC power modules, SiC-SBD (Schottky barrier diode) and SiC-MOSFET, mainly for automotive electronics applications.
The company has announced plans to complete capacity expansion at its plants in Fukuoka Prefecture in Japan by 2020 to meet the rapidly rising market demand for SiC power devices.
The sources said that SiC boasts wide band-gap that is three times that of silicon, and can operate under high temperatures and high voltage ranges. Accordingly, SiC is joining GaN (gallium nitride) as the most popular third-generation semiconductor material which international IDMs and semiconductor firms in Taiwan and China are keen to develop.
At the moment, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and Vanguard International Semiconductor (VIS) are actively engaged in fabricating GaN devices on their GaN-On-Si foundry process. Win Semiconductor has zeroed in on the development of GaN-On-SiC devices; Episil Technologies is capable of handling volume production of SiC wafers; and Hestia Power backed by the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) has taken the lead in developing SiC-based power devices, the sources said.
Also, China's electric car maker BYD shows keen interest in developing SiC power devices, and international IDMs are proceeding with fast deployments in high-performance SiC power devices needed for new-energy cars now under development by major auto brands in the US, Europe and Japan, the sources indicated.