New Agreement Expands Global SOI Wafer Supply to Meet Growing Market Demand In Consumer Applications
Bernin, France, October 9 , 2012 — Soitec (Euronext), a world leader in generating and manufacturing revolutionary semiconductor materials for the electronics and energy industries, and Shin-Etsu Handotai Co., Ltd (SEH), the world leader in the manufacturing of silicon wafers today announced a Smart Cut™ licensing extension and expanded technology cooperation agreement. The new partnership includes an extended 10-year licensing agreement between the two companies and establishes a new level of joint technology cooperation. It will facilitate the development and wafer supply of Silicon on Insulator (SOI) wafers to meet major market opportunities such as SOI for RF devices, FinFETs on SOI and Fully Depleted (FD) planar circuits. Both companies will be able to increase global output of SOI wafers at a time when demand in the electronics industry is surging due to the increase in mobile and embedded computing devices in the consumer market. This partnership represents a major step forward in the supply chain and ecosystem that will enable the next generation of technologies on an optimized SOI wafer from two independent suppliers collaborating at the R&D level, and it will accelerate time to market for breakthroughs at a material level.
Soitec's Smart Cut technology is the industry standard for manufacturing SOI wafers. The agreement announced today is a licensing extension that expands the scope of the partnership between Soitec and SEH, including cross-licensing Smart Cut related patents between the two companies. As a result of the agreement, SEH will continue to use Soitec's industry-defining Smart Cut technology to manufacture SOI wafers, and now will be able to extend its Smart Cut manufacturing capabilities to other materials, a trend commonly referred to as Silicon on Anything or SOA (any material on top of which there is a thin film of plain silicon), which will allow SEH to further expand its scope of applications.
"We are very excited about the business opportunities for SOI products, and we look forward to working with Soitec to extend the global supply chain for new products, such as FD-SOI and SOI for FinFETs, which are showing potential benefits in mobile and embedded applications," said Nobuo Katsuoka, SEH director, SOI process engineering department . "Our relationship with Soitec has been a very positive and fruitful one, and we are excited to extend that collaboration. The unique features of Smart Cut will enable our two companies to jointly improve global output for existing and new SOI products."
"We are thrilled to extend our partnership with SEH," said Paul Boudre, COO of Soitec. "We have worked side by side with SEH for more than 15 years, and together we have established Smart Cut as the industry standard for manufacturing SOI. As we continue to work together, we look forward to manufacturing new products such as planar FD-SOI and SOI for FinFETs. It is a critical time in the electronics industry, and there is an increasing need for new and innovative wafer materials that extend the performance and energy efficiency of consumer devices we all use every day. Together, Soitec and SEH will be providing the industry with the leading materials it needs to continue to innovate."
Smart Cut, the industry standard, is Soitec’s proprietary engineered wafer technology. Smart Cut technology’s revolutionary wafer bonding and layer splitting processes made it possible to transfer a thin layer of material from a donor substrate to another substrate, overcoming physical limitations and changing the face of the substrate industry.
Shin Etsu Handotai was the first company to license the Smart Cut technology and signed a long term alliance with Soitec in 1997, in which the company had granted to SEH a license to use the Smart Cut technology for the manufacture and sale of SOI wafers. The Smart Cut technology was originally developed by the CEA-Leti (one of the world’s premier microelectronics research laboratories). Soitec holds exclusive exploitation of CEA-Leti rights into the Smart Cut technology, including the right to sublicense to SEH. The technology was made viable for SOI high-volume commercial production by Soitec, and is now protected by more than 3,000 patents owned or controlled by Soitec.
Soitec is an international manufacturing company, a world leader in generating and manufacturing revolutionary semiconductor materials at the frontier of the most exciting energy and electronic challenges. Soitec’s products include substrates for microelectronics (most notably SOI: Silicon-on-Insulator) and concentrator photovoltaic systems (CPV). The company’s core technologies are Smart Cut™, Smart Stacking™ and Concentrix™, as well as expertise in epitaxy. Applications include consumer and mobile electronics, microelectronics-driven IT, telecommunications, automotive electronics, lighting products and large-scale solar power plants. Soitec has manufacturing plants and R&D centers in France, Singapore, Germany, and the United States. For more information, visit: www.soitec.com.
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