The Wide Bandgap (WBG) materials division of II-VI Inc’s compound semiconductor business — which is based in Pine Brook, NJ, USA — says that it is expanding its operations, in two phases, at Mississippi State University’s (MSU’s) Research Park in Starkville, MS, in order to meet the rapidly growing market demand for single-crystal silicon carbide (SiC) wafers for next-generation electronic devices.
The firm says that the devices should enable dramatic increases in efficiency for a wide range of applications related to energy conversion and switching, including commercial hybrid vehicles, smart-grid power switching, green (windmill and solar) energy generation, and industrial motor drives. The project represents an $18m investment by the firm and will create up to 100 new jobs locally.
MSU’s Research Technology Corporation (RTC) is constructing a new 20,000ft2 facility in its Research Park, of which 10,000ft2 will be separately utilized by II-VI, where staff will be engaged in materials manufacturing activities, including fabrication, polishing, cleaning and packaging of SiC wafers prior to shipment to device customers.
The State of Mississippi’s Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) says that it worked closely with II-VI Inc and local officials to provide assistance for this first phase of the expansion, via the Momentum Mississippi Incentives program and the Job Protection Grant program. Oktibbeha County also provided assistance to help facilitate this phase of the project.
In addition, for the second phase of the expansion, the City of Starkville and Oktibbeha County are jointly constructing a publicly owned, 20,000ft2 facility, in which II-VI staff will be engaged in the firm’s expanding crystal growth operations. For this second phase, MDA is providing assistance to the city and county for the construction of the building, while the Tennessee Valley Authority is also providing loan assistance.
“We are grateful to all parties involved who helped bring this plan to fruition and are looking forward to significant future growth and to supporting the local community by bringing high-tech jobs to Starkville,” says WBG Materials division general manager Dr Tom Anderson.
Both new buildings will be located in MSU’s Research Park. II-VI has been located in Mississippi since 2005 and currently employs six workers in a small, separate pilot facility, also in the Research Park.