Norstel Form Collaboration to Develop Single Crystal Silicon Carbide Materials for Semiconductor Applications

Norstel AB and the Energy Technology Research Institute (ETRI) of National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) (Tsukuba, Japan) have signed a strategic collaboration agreement for development of Silicon Carbide (SiC) single crystal material for semiconductor applications. The Parties will jointly develop next generation crystal growth processes for large-diameter high-quality and cost-effective high volume SiC manufacturing.

Norstel has from 1995 onwards developed and patented the High Temperature Chemical Vapour Deposition (HTCVD) method for growth of SiC single crystal ingots, while the company is currently ramping up its manufacturing operations in its new facility in Sweden. The HTCVD method utilizing controlled purity gases in the growth process has under the supervision of Dr. Alexandre Ellison yielded very high purity wafers for advanced semiconductor processing.

AIST has developed growth techniques based on the Sublimation method under the supervision of Dr. Shin-ichi Nishizawa during the past 7 years, with impressive results on materials quality of up to 4” diameter. In April 2007, he joined ETRI of AIST.

The primary purpose of the collaboration will be to study next generation SiC crystal growth techniques based on the HTCVD method to optimize crystal growth quality and manufacturability. Commenting on the agreement Norstel CEO Iain Jackson said: “This agreement brings together a breadth of SiC expertise without parallel in the industry. We at Norstel are excited about the new possibilities this offers us and we are thrilled to have someone of Dr. Nishizawa’s experience co-operating with Norstel as we look to next generation SiC manufacturing technology”.

Norstel AB manufactures and develops wide bandgap semiconductor materials, including silicon carbide (SiC) wafers and epitaxial layers. In power electronics these materials enable new designs saving energy and improving performance for a wide range of applications such as hybrid cars, mobile phone base stations and radar systems. Norstel's customers are semiconductor device companies worldwide and Charles & Colvard, the sole source of moissanite jewels. Norstel was established in February 2005 as a spin-off from silicon wafer manufacturer Okmetic Oyj. The Nordic venture capital companies Eqvitec, Northzone Ventures and Creandum are major shareholders.

National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) and its ancestors have been contributing society through continuous advancement in technologies and supports to Japanese industries since 1876. AIST has over 50 autonomous research units in various innovative research fields, and the units are located at 9 research bases and several sites over Japan. 2500 research scientists (about 2000 with tenure) and well over 3000 visiting scientists, post doctoral fellows and students are working in AIST. Energy Technology Research Institute (ETRI) is one of the research units, and engaged in research on a distributed energy network, energy materials and device technologies, and clean energy clean fuel.

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