Soitec purchases silicon wafers from silicon manufacturers who smelt, cast and cut the material into wafers of raw silicon. Then, Soitec uses its advanced technology, primarily its Smart Cut™ process, to insert an insulating layer between two layers of silicon oxide, creating silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafers. It then sells these wafers to integrated circuit manufacturers.
In addition to producing electronic components with increased performance and energy efficiency, SOI wafers also reduce manufacturing costs by simplifying device architecture.
Developed in the Grenoble area, the Smart Cut process is a unique technological breakthrough that uses nanotechnology on an atomic scale.
Soitec has the largest industrial manufacturing site for SOI wafers (200 mm to 300 mm) in the world. It includes 4,500 m² of cleanrooms spread out between its three factories in France. In 2015, Soitec partnered with the Chinese company Simgui to manufacture 200-mm SOI wafers for the Chinese market and operate as a manufacturing partner (foundry model) for Soitec customers outside of China. Soitec also has a FD-SOI pilot line in Singapore.
The company introduced the Smart Cut technology on the market on a industrial scale, which today is used to make nearly all SOI wafers sold in the world. Soitec has licensing agreements with several leading wafer suppliers including the Japanese company Shin-Etsu Handotai (SEH) since 1997; SunEdison, an American company recently purchased by GlobalWafers, a Taiwanese company, since 2013; and Simgui since 2014.