innovation for industry
On September 28th, 2023, Soitec inaugurated a new production facility dedicated to SmartSiC™ substrates. The production of these substrates relies on Soitec's SmartCut™ technology, which reduces CO2 emissions by up to 70% during wafer production.
This new plant went from idea to reality in only five years, a remarkable feat. As a CEA-Leti spin-off startup, more than 30 years of continuous collaboration enabled the two organizations to vastly accelerate the development of a pilot line, highlighting the success of close collaboration between industry & research.
This new technology was developed in response to the challenges of future electric vehicles. Based on silicon carbide (SiC), it improves energy efficiency, thermal management and power density while reducing the loss of expensive materials during the production process.
The resulting substrate wafers should enable future electric vehicles to achieve ranges over 500 km (versus the current average of 350 km). The wafer manufacturing process also reduces CO2 emissions by 70% as compared to current monocrystalline SiC substrates. With this new plant,
Soitec has the means to implement a threefold growth in its targeted markets by 2030 while creating 400 jobs in the region.
Thanks to 30 years of continued collaboration between Soitec and CEA-Leti, the involved partners were able to implement an accelerated development process for this new plant. Once the idea was launched, Soitec was able to set up an entire pilot line within CEA-Leti cleanrooms. This unique collaboration enabled engineers and researchers from both organizations to work simultaneously on the project. On Soitec’s side, work focused on developing solutions to implement the pilot line at the industrial level, while CEA-Leti provided its research expertise to better understand the underlying mechanisms at play in this new technology.
“The complementarity of our two organizations was the key to this success. Setting up a full pilot line within our clean rooms was a new stepping stone in our long-term partnership with Soitec, and the results are excellent. By joining forces to work simultaneously on fundamental understandings and practical implementation, we’ve bolstered our organizations’ ability to support European leadership in this field,” highlights Sébastien Dauvé, CEA-Leti’s CEO
CEA is a French government-funded technological research organisation in four main areas: low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. A prominent player in the European Research Area, it is involved in setting up collaborative projects with many partners around the world.