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Unleashing performance for semiconductors

We enable the semi­con­duct­ors industry to con­tin­ue to devel­op ever­more effi­cient electronics.

Smol­tek enables the pro­duc­tion of smal­ler and bet­ter micro­elec­tron­ic com­pon­ents through solu­tions for smarter integ­ra­tion. The company’s dis­rupt­ive tech­no­logy offers a broad field of pro­duc­tion pro­cesses for the semi­con­duct­or industry, among those CMOS-com­pli­ant devices, to meet today’s and tomorrow’s mater­i­als engin­eer­ing challenges.

One example of how and where Smoltek’s tech­no­logy can be imple­men­ted is in mini­atur­ized capa­cit­ors for integ­ra­tion into semi­con­duct­or circuits—a crit­ic­al applic­a­tion in the advanced pack­aging of high-per­form­ance processors.

The semiconductor market

The semi­con­duct­or mar­ket is large, very large. Pure gigant­ic. There are semi­con­duct­ors today in almost every product—which is why we, over the years, have had close dia­logues with sev­er­al large cus­tom­ers and part­ners, from both a tech­nic­al and busi­ness per­spect­ive, to identi­fy which part of the semi­con­duct­or mar­ket we should address with our tech­no­logy. The con­clu­sion is that we will first and fore­most focus on dis­crete super-thin capa­cit­ors for mobile applic­a­tions where the capa­cit­or man­u­fac­tur­ers are our customers.

This is a huge multi-bil­lion market—where the major play­ers today are on the United States’ west coast and South­east Asia.

The glob­al semi­con­duct­or mar­ket is estim­ated to grow at 6% CAGR by $ 84.41 bil­lion dur­ing the fore­cast peri­od 2021–2025. (Mar­ket­watch, July 1, 2021)

Semiconductor evolution—and the problem we solve

As the semi­con­duct­or industry has been able to con­tin­ue mini­atur­iz­ing the tran­sist­ors in pro­cessor chips, the chip’s per­form­ance increases, which gives us faster and increas­ingly power­ful com­puters, tab­lets, mobile phones, etc. A con­sequence of this devel­op­ment is that the elec­tric­al voltage in the chip must be reduced, which entails an increased need for so-called decoup­ling capa­cit­ors near the chip. These capa­cit­ors need to be extremely thin to place these close enough to the act­ive pro­cessor. Smoltek’s car­bon nan­ofiber-based (CNF-MIM) capa­cit­ors can solve this par­tic­u­lar problem.

A smart­phone con­sists of many com­pon­ents. Mind­bog­gling many. For all these parts to work togeth­er, the entire sys­tem, in each mobile, needs the sup­port of about a thou­sand capa­cit­ors. Our focus is to sup­port a sub­set of these con­nec­ted to the heart in the mobile device, namely the applic­a­tion pro­cessor, a niche that, in prin­ciple, all major play­ers are inter­ested in. And con­sid­er­ing that about 1.5 bil­lion applic­a­tion pro­cessors are pro­duced annu­ally, the num­ber of capa­cit­ors that need to be pro­duced will be quite large.

The market for our capacitors

The mar­ket for our capa­cit­or tech­no­logy is in spe­cial­ized elec­tron­ic com­pon­ents used in a vari­ety of applic­a­tions, primar­ily in the field of semi­con­duct­ors and integ­rated cir­cuits. The capa­cit­ors are spe­cially designed to offer high capa­cit­ance val­ues in a com­pact form factor. 

Examples of areas of applic­a­tion are:
Con­sumer elec­tron­ics – Smart­phones, tab­lets and port­able devices where the capa­cit­ors are used in the applic­a­tion pro­cessor, which place high demands on the com­bin­a­tion of high per­form­ance in a small form factor. With our tech­no­logy for ultra-thin capa­cit­ors, we can become a lead­ing tech­no­logy sup­pli­er in this seg­ment, as we can meet those require­ments. It enables, for example, our capa­cit­ors to be placed closer to the applic­a­tion pro­cessor com­pared to com­pet­ing tech­no­lo­gies, which is very import­ant for, like for example, mobile phone man­u­fac­tur­ers as it increases sys­tem (AP/​SoC – Sys­tem on Chip1) per­form­ance.

The auto­mot­ive industry – Our capa­cit­ors are suit­able for vari­ous elec­tric­al sys­tems in the auto­mot­ive industry where tech­no­logy has become more advanced, with extens­ive soft­ware imple­ment­a­tion and many com­plex safety sys­tems. This means that there are strict require­ments for stable voltage levels and reli­able func­tion of import­ant com­pon­ents, which are chal­lenges our capa­cit­or tech­no­logy can meet. 

The aerospace and defense industry – Tech­no­logy devel­op­ments require high-per­form­ance capa­cit­ors to meet the strict spe­cific­a­tions found in radar sys­tems, com­mu­nic­a­tions equip­ment, and oth­er avionics. 

Radio fre­quency (RF) – Our tech­no­logy can be used in so-called RF cir­cuits where there are high require­ments for a very small form factor. In RF, our tech­no­logy can be used to con­trol imped­ance (elec­tric­al res­ist­ance to altern­at­ing cur­rent) and improve the per­form­ance of wire­less com­mu­nic­a­tion devices such as mobile phones and Wi-Fi routers. 

Industry and man­u­fac­tur­ing – In indus­tri­al auto­ma­tion and con­trol sys­tems, our capa­cit­or tech­no­logy can be used to ensure the high demands placed on stable and accur­ate voltage levels, con­trib­ut­ing to the reli­ab­il­ity of man­u­fac­tur­ing processes. 

In sum­mary, our tech­no­logy is driv­en by the increas­ing demand for mini­atur­ized, high-per­form­ance elec­tron­ic devices in a vari­ety of indus­tries. As the devel­op­ment of semi­con­duct­or tech­no­logy con­tin­ues and the need for smal­ler and more effi­cient com­pon­ents increases, we expect the mar­ket for our capa­cit­or tech­no­logy to expand. 

Today, we focus par­tic­u­larly on the mobile mar­ket (con­sumer elec­tron­ics), where the need for small form factors and high per­form­ance rep­res­ents sig­ni­fic­ant chal­lenges and opportunities. 

As an example, the mar­ket for land­side-moun­ted decoup­ling capa­cit­ors for applic­a­tion pro­cessors in premi­um priced mobile phones is pre­dicted to have an expec­ted aver­age annu­al growth rate of about 3.6% CAGR, increas­ing from about 3.6 bil­lion decoup­ling capa­cit­ors in 2023 to about 4.6 bil­lion decoup­ling capa­cit­ors in 2030. This is a sub-mar­ket that we are ini­tially targeting.

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Learn more

Recom­men­ded read­ing for you who want to learn more about our ultra-thin CNF-MIN decoup­ling capacitors:

  1. AP/​SoC is a type of integ­rated cir­cuit (IC) design that com­bines many, or all, high-level func­tion­al ele­ments of an elec­tron­ic device on a single chip, rather than using sep­ar­ate com­pon­ents moun­ted on a mother­board as is done in tra­di­tion­al elec­tron­ics design. ↩︎