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Showa Denko’s Program to Develop 8-inch SiC Wafers for Next-generation Green Power Semiconductor Selected for NEDO’s Green Innovation Fund Projects

news | 28 May 2022
Tag: R&D Semiconductor

Showa Denko (SDK) (TOKYO: 4004) proposed its “Project to Develop SiC Wafers Technology for Next-generation Green Power Semiconductors*1” (hereinafter “the Project”) to New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) as a candidate for “Projects to Develop Wafers Technology for Next-generation Power Semiconductors” which was set as a research and development target of “Next-generation Digital Infrastructure Construction*2” in “Green Innovation Fund Projects” (hereinafter GI Fund Projects). And the Project has been selected for GI Fund Projects by NEDO.

In October 2020, the Japanese Government declared that it aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. Aiming to significantly accelerate efforts toward structural changes in the energy and industrial sectors and undertake bold investment for innovation, which are necessary for achievement of the above national target, Ministry of Energy, Trade and Industry (METI) decided in October 2020 to develop a Green Innovation Fund at the level of 2 trillion yen as part of the NEDO. The plan of GI Fund Projects, which are based on the specific goals shared by public and private sectors, is to continuously support companies and other organizations, which show their commitment to challenge such ambitious goals as their business issues ranging from research and development (R&D) to demonstrations to social implementation of the outcomes.

SDK’s business to manufacture SiC epitaxial wafers for power semiconductors (hereinafter SiC epi-wafers) has conducted business transactions with leading power semiconductor manufacturers inside and outside Japan, and has the global-top share in the SiC epi-wafers market*3. In the Project, SDK plans to make the most of its resources including intelligent property portfolio and development know-how, develop SiC epi-wafers with a diameter of 8 inches, and reduce density of deficiencies by one digit or more, thereby reducing production cost of next-generation power semiconductors. This time, NEDO highly appreciated SDK’s aggressive proposal and its SiC epi-wafers business’s good performance. As a result, NEDO selected SDK’s proposal for GI Fund Projects. The Project’s implementation period will be 9 years, from fiscal 2022 to fiscal 2030. In the Project, SDK will develop technology to accelerate growth rate of SiC bulk single crystal in cooperation with the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST).

The Showa Denko Group aims to be a “Co-Creative Chemical Company” and contribute to the sustainable development of global society. Under this vision, SDK positions its operation to produce SiC epitaxial wafers, which contributes to efficient use of energy, as a next-generation business, and will allocate much of our business resources. The Group will continue contributing to the spread of SiC power semiconductors by maintaining “Best in Class” as its motto and continuing provision of high-performance and highly-reliable products.

*1. Next-generation green power semiconductors are power semiconductors used in xEVs, power equipment for renewable energies, power modules for servers, etc., made from next-generation materials including SiC.
*2. URL for Projects to Next-generation Digital Infrastructure Construction is https://green-innovation.nedo.go.jp/en/project/building-next-generation-digital-infrastructure/
*3. SDK has the global-top share in the market as an independent supplier of SiC epitaxial wafers.

This news originally published on www.sdk.co.jp 

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Showa Denko Launches Mass Production of 6-inch SiC Single Crystal Wafers

news | 04 April 2022
Tag: Semiconductor

Showa Denko K.K. (SDK) (TOKYO: 4004) has launched mass production of silicon carbide single crystal wafers (SiC wafers) with a diameter of 6 inches (150 mm), which are used as materials for SiC epitaxial wafers*1 to be processed and installed into SiC-based power semiconductors (SiC power semiconductors).

SiC power semiconductor has excellent heat-resisting property and high withstanding voltage much better than those of conventional silicon-based power semiconductor, which is currently the mainstream of power semiconductors. SiC power semiconductor contributes to improvement in power module’s energy efficiency and downsizing. Therefore, the demand for SiC power semiconductors is increasing rapidly in various fields, especially those for use in xEVs, railcars, and industrial equipment.

As an independent supplier of SiC epitaxial wafers, SDK has the global-top share in the market, and has been providing power-device manufacturers with Best in Class SiC epitaxial wafers. Therefore, SDK’s SiC epitaxial wafers are highly acclaimed by power-device manufacturers in and outside Japan.

SDK has been considering in-house production of SiC wafers, which are used as main material for SiC epitaxial wafers, aiming to improve quality of our SiC epitaxial wafers and establish a stable supply system for them. From 2010 to 2015, SDK took part in “Novel Semiconductor Power Electronics Project Realizing Low Carbon Emission Society *2,” which was hosted and entrusted by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), as a member of the “Research and Development Partnership for Future Power Electronics Technology*3.” Furthermore, in 2018, SDK took over SiC-wafer related assets of Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Group (current Nippon Steel Group)*4, and has been developing technologies for mass production of SiC wafers since then.

This time, SDK decided to launch in-house mass production of 6-inch SiC wafers because plural customers have adopted SDK’s SiC epitaxial wafers made from our in-house produced 6-inch SiC wafers. On the other hand, SDK will continue purchasing SiC wafers from our partners in order to respond to rapidly growing demand for SiC epitaxial wafers for power semiconductors. Thus, SDK will diversify sources of SiC wafers, thereby establishing stable supply chain for SiC epitaxial wafers.

The Showa Denko Group aims to be a “Co-Creative Chemical Company” and contribute to the sustainable development of global society. Under this vision, SDK positions its operation to produce SiC epitaxial wafers, which contributes to efficient use of energy, as a next-generation business, and will allocate much of our business resources. The Group will continue contributing to the spread of SiC power semiconductors by maintaining “Best in Class” as its motto and continuing provision of high-performance and highly-reliable products.

*1 “SiC epitaxial wafer” is a material for semiconductor, made from SiC wafer by depositing thin layer of epitaxial SiC on the surface of the wafer.

*2 “Novel Semiconductor Power Electronics Project Realizing Low Carbon Emission Society ” is a project aiming to establish technology for realization of stable supply of SiC wafers with large diameters. In 2010, this project was stared and entrusted by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, and, in 2011, the control of this project was transferred to New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO).

*3 “Research and Development Partnership for Future Power Electronics Technology” is an association established as a joint organization of academy, industry, and government aiming to improve technical level concerning next-generation power electronics.

*4 For details of this, please refer to SDK’s news release, “Showa Denko Acquires Assets Concerning SiC for Power Devices from Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Group,” which was announced on August 7, 2017.

This news originally published on www.sdk.co.jp 

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Showa Denko Drastically Accelerates Exploration of Optimal Formulation of Semiconductor Materials with Quantum Computing Technology

news | 07 March 2022
Tag: Semiconductor

Showa Denko K.K. (SDK) (TOKYO: 4004) (President and CEO: Hidehito Takahashi) has demonstrated the ability of quantum computing technology to accelerate the exploration of the optimal formulation of semiconductor materials, reducing the exploration time from dozens of years of conventional methods to dozens of seconds.

Semiconductor materials contain numerous ingredients such as resins, fillers, and additives in various mixing ratios, and high-performance materials are obtained by optimizing the formulation. However, the theoretical number of combinations of ingredients and mixing ratios to be analyzed is more than 1050. Thus, it will take more than dozens of years to explore all possible combinations of these ingredients and their mixing ratios with conventional artificial intelligence (AI) methods. Therefore, we had analyzed only part of theoretically possible combinations before.

To reduce the time required for the exploration, we focus on using high-performance computing technology, Digital Annealer*1, a quantum-inspired technology*2 developed by Fujitsu Ltd. (Representative Director and CEO: Takahito Tokita). Showa Denko has developed an AI model for predicting the properties of semiconductor materials from complex formulation conditions. To make the AI model computable on Digital Annealer, Showa Denko has expressed the AI model as an Ising model*3, one of the statistical mechanical methods. By simulating the Ising model on Digital Annealer, we have reduced the exploration time to dozens of seconds, about 72,000 times faster than the time required by conventional AI methods, where the type and amount of ingredients to be explored are limited for conventional AI methods. Moreover, the optimal formulation designed with the Ising model is expected to obtain semiconductor materials with 30% higher performance than the formulation designed with conventional AI methods.

In its “Long-term Vision for Newly Integrated Company,” the Showa Denko Group has announced that it will commit itself to research and development of AI and computational science, which is the core of its fundamental R&D activities. The result of this development is an example of achievements of R&D activities based on the application of “Chemistry to Think” on “Chemistry to Formulate,” both of which the Group has defined its basic frameworks for technological development. The Group will apply this development to various materials, accelerate our development activities, and provide our customers with solutions for their problems, thereby contributing to a sustainable society.


Image of optimization of semiconductor materials formulation

*1: Digital Annealer: Domain specific computer architecture (basic computer design consisting of memory and computing circuits) specialized in solving computationally intensive combinatorial optimization problems.
(https://www.fujitsu.com/global/services/business-services/digital-annealer/)

*2: Quantum-inspired computing technology: High-performance computing technology inspired by quantum technology, though not directly using quantum effects.

*3: Ising model: A statistical mechanical model for describing the behavior of spins in magnetic materials. The model describes the macroscopic magnetization of a magnetic material by considering the interaction between the spins and the coupling to the external magnetic field. The model is applied to a wide range of research areas, including combinatorial optimization problems.

This news originally published on www.sdk.co.jp 

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Molecular Sieve: Safe semiconductor manufacturing with SDK’s molecular sieve!

news | 09 April 2021
Tag: molecular sieve Semiconductor toxic gas

by F.S.

Semiconductors such as smartphones and laptops support our convenient lives with their functions.
This time, I would like to introduce the Showa Denko Group’s technology that helps semiconductor manufacturing.

Using a large amount of harmful gas? And looking to remove it?
The semiconductor manufacturing process typically goes through the following processes.

In this process, special gases are used in the Etching, Cleaning, and Deposition processes.
This gas contains toxic components such as (CF4, CHF3,ClF2, F2, Cl2, HF etc) and must be properly treated at the work site after use.
Thus, the following removal devices are installed at each site.

The removal device is filled with adsorbents such as activated carbon and molecular sieves, and by passing through these adsorbents, harmful components such as chlorine ions and fluorine ions are removed. Such equipment is indispensable to maintain a safe working environment.

So why do customers choose Showa Denko’s Molecular Sieves among many other manufacturers?
This is because:
・The binder ratio in the molecular sieve is lowered to maximize the adsorption efficiency.
・Competitive price
For these reasons, our semiconductor industry customers have been patronizing our molecular sieves for many years.

“I need to improve the performance of the treatment device”
“I want to purchase reasonably price Molecular Sieve”

If you are in the semiconductor industry with such needs, do not hesitate to contact Showa Denko when selecting adsorbent materials.
Utilizing the experience of the world’s top share, we will provide the solution that suits your work site.

Click the button below to submit your inquiry.

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