Monday, July 13, 2020
Having established its leadership in the silicon on insulator (SOI) market, Soitec is now aiming for a similar dominance in piezoelectric on insulator (POI) substrates to address the huge growth in RF filters needed for 5G applications. Soitec announced a business agreement with Qualcomm Technologies to supply high volume POI wafers for RF filters in 4G and 5G smartphone radio frequency (RF) front-end modules.
In an interview with EE Times, Bernard Aspar, executive vice-president of global business at Soitec, said, “This is our first major business agreement disclosed beyond SOI. The POI based on our Smart Cut technology brings a new generation of substrate to the market, and while this is the first customer we have been able to publicly disclose, we already have a few customers using or evaluating our POI. Our ambition for our POI is to become a standard for RF filters for both 4G and 5G.”
He said that Soitec had been collaborating with Qualcomm for several years and was already a supplier of SOI technology to the company. The new agreement aims to bring POI wafer production to high volume manufacturing for use in Qualcomm Technologies’ RF filters that go ino smartphone RF front-end modules.
Aspar said that with a 50% increase in the RF filters required for 5G over 4G, the ability to deliver precision RF filters at low cost will be critical for the RF front-end modules. “The size of the market for POI wafers is going to be bigger than one million wafers per year in 2023-24. We see filters as a strategic part of the market opportunity hence it is a focus for us. To build high-performance front-end modules, you need high performance filters.” In order to meet demand, Soitec will have a capacity of 500,000 wafers per year when it reaches full capacity, which, according to Aspar will be within 3-4 years.
Copyright © 2019 CST, Inc. All Rights Reserved