Infineon Technologies AG has acquired Siltectra GmbH, a start-up based in Dresden. Siltectra has developed an innovative technology (Cold Split) to process crystal material efficiently and with minimal loss of material. Infineon will use the Cold Split technology to split silicon-carbide (SiC) wafers, thus doubling the number of chips out of one wafer. A purchase price of €124 million was agreed on with the venture capital investor MIG Fonds, the main shareholder.
"This acquisition will help us expand our excellent portfolio with the new material silicon-carbide as well. Our system understanding and our unique know how on thin wafer technology will be ideally complemented by the Cold Split technology and the innovative capacity of Siltectra," said Dr. Reinhard Ploss, CEO of Infineon.
"Thanks to the Cold Split technology, the higher number of SiC wafers will make the ramp-up of our SiC products much easier, especially regarding further expansion of renewable energies and the increasing adaptation of SiC for use in the drive train of electrical vehicles," Dr. Ploss added.
Dr. Jan Richter, CTO of Siltectra commented: "We are glad to become part of the team of the global market leader in power semiconductors. Having shown that the Cold Split technology can be used at Infineon in principle, we will now work together to transfer it to volume production."
Michael Motschmann, General Partner of MIG Fonds' administrator MIG AG, said: "Since we invested in Siltectra more than eight years ago, we have always believed in the Cold Split technology and the great team. We are very pleased that we found Infineon as a buyer who fits perfectly technologically as well as culturally to the company. Furthermore, it makes us proud that we helped to strengthen Germany's economic competitiveness by our investment."
Siltectra was founded in 2010 and has been growing an IP portfolio with more than 50 patent families. The start-up developed a technology for splitting crystalline materials with minimal loss of material compared to common sawing technologies. This technology can also be applied with the semiconductor material SiC, for which rapidly rising demand is expected in the coming years.
SiC products are already used today in very efficient and compact solar inverters. In the future, SiC will play a more and more important role in electro-mobility. The Cold Split technology will be industrialized at the existing Siltectra site in Dresden and at the Infineon site in Villach, Austria. The transfer to volume production is expected to be completed within the next five years.
Infineon offers the broadest product portfolio of power semiconductors based on silicon as well as the innovative substrates of silicon-carbide and gallium-nitride. It is the only company worldwide with volume production on 300mm silicon thin wafers.
Therefore, Infineon is well positioned to apply the thin wafer technology to SiC products as well. The Cold Split technology will help to secure the supply of SiC products, especially in the long run. Over time, further applications for the Cold Split technology might emerge, such as boule splitting or the use for materials other than silicon-carbide.