Applied Materials aims to improve chip production for electric vehicles

Applied is the world’s largest manufacturer of equipment for making semiconductors. The machines, announced Wednesday, are designed to have chips made from a material called silicon carbide.




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Applied working on machines to make silicon carbide chips, more efficient for EVs

Applied Materials on Wednesday released two new tools aimed at improving the efficiency of manufacturing a new class of chips for electric vehicles. Applied is the world’s largest manufacturer of equipment for making semiconductors. The machines, announced Wednesday, are designed to have chips made from a material called silicon carbide. Such chips are gaining traction in electric vehicles made by Tesla Inc. because they are more efficient and lighter than standard silicon chips for transmitting power from car batteries to motors, thereby improving range. Companies such as Cree Inc. and On Semiconductor Corp. are investing in making chips.

Silicon carbide chips are difficult to manufacture because the material is very hard. They are bulk-manufactured on discs called “wafers” which are then cut into individual chips. But first the wafers must be completely lubricated, or the resulting chips will have defects.

Because silicon carbide is so hard, chipmakers can only polish relatively small wafers that are 150 millimeters (5.91 in) wide without obtaining defects anywhere on the surface.

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Silicon carbide chips are difficult to manufacture because the material is very hard

Applied on Wednesday said its new tool will help chipmakers polish wafers 200 millimeters (7.87 inches) wide. Small increases in wafer size can double the number of chips each can hold, helping to increase production and bring down prices.

Sundar Ramamurthy, group vice president and general manager of Applied Group, an Applied Group working to advance the chipmaking technology, said, “To bring this to high volume manufacturing, you need the entire wafer surface to be uniform, so that you can approximate the difference in the wafer. get the output.” Automotive chips, sensors and other equipment.

The other device announced Wednesday helps introduce small amounts of chemical impurities to wafers, an important step in improving electrical conductivity for all semiconductors. The process with silicon carbide is difficult due to the brittleness of the material.

The companies said Cree plans to use some of Applied’s new tools.

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