CrystX® Silicon Carbide for Rapidly Expanding Markets
As a semiconductor substrate, silicon carbide (SiC) is a high-demand, very efficient crystal material that can handle high voltages and high thermal loads. With decades of experience producing high-quality crystal materials, GT Advanced Technologies has introduced its CrystX® silicon carbide for rapidly expanding power electronics applications such as electric vehicles. The form factor for the product is 150mm (6″) diameter. Resistivity is 20 mΩ-cm ±5. Upon request, this can be tuned to a 2 mΩ-cm range.
GTAT supplies its CrystX® silicon carbide to partners downstream who specialize in wafering and polishing. Still further downstream, devices are placed on the wafers. The devices go into power inverters, power converters, and other electronic modules. Because GTAT focuses solely on silicon carbide, it can help grow the number of companies offering SiC wafers. As more companies evolve to provide SiC wafers based on GTAT’s material, global supplies of this crucial substrate will increase and costs will fall.
GT Advanced Technologies produces wafering-ready CrystX® silicon carbide in the form of 150mm n-type ‘pucks.’ GTAT developed CrystX® silicon carbide in 2017 and made it commercially available less than a year later. Since then, the Company’s process and production improvements have led to significant and rapid defect reductions with a clear roadmap to continually improve the product. The Company’s rapid process evolution is driving quality up, with yet another step-change in the first half of 2021. Additionally, further quality improvements are anticipated throughout the remainder of the year. More specifically, Etch Pit Density (EPD) and Basal Plane Dislocations (BPD) are critical quality metrics for silicon carbide. GTAT has made significant progress driving down BPD’s to less than 1,000 per cm2 and is set to reduce this by another 50% in the near term. GT’s inherently stable production process enables all its high-quality material to be made to this standard, which is available under a single product grade.
GTAT has two parallel focus points for CrystX® silicon carbide: making the material affordable, and making it available in high volume. First, we do this by dialing in the process and then perfecting it. Second, we’re applying decades of experience producing and then deploying our proprietary crystal-growth systems to scale rapidly as demand for silicon carbide accelerates in the coming years.
Silicon Carbide for Electric Vehicles
The electric vehicle market is surging. You can see it everywhere you look. Car and truck makers have impressive models on the road now and many more soon to come. Silicon carbide will play a huge role in advancing the mass adoption of EVs because it enables circuits and modules to be extremely small and light, which in turn boosts battery efficiency and range.
Charging stations are also evolving. Widespread deployment of 350kW chargers is a reality now, and 475kW versions are close at hand. This can provide a range boost of anywhere from 220 to 300 miles after only ten minutes of charging time!
Silicon carbide is the substrate material allowing this to happen, and GT Advanced Technologies is scaled to meet demand!