BAW filter start-up Akoustis Technologies, Inc. announced an agreement to acquire STC-MEMS, a semiconductor wafer manufacturing operation and MEMS business located in Canandaigua, New York. The acquisition will enable Akoustis to manufacture its single crystal BAW RF filters internally, with “substantial capacity and control of its wafer supply chain.” Time-to-market should decrease.

Akoustis will pay the Research Foundation for the State University of New York (RF-SUNY) and Fuller Road Management Corporation (FRMC), an affiliate of RF-SUNY, $2.75 million in cash, subject to adjustments and customary closing conditions. The transaction is expected to close during the second quarter of calendar year 2017.

Art Geiss, co-chairman of Akoustis, said, “Akoustis will merge its patented BulkOne® BAW RF filter process into the STC-MEMS foundry, an operating silicon wafer-based MEMs manufacturer. Since there is significant overlap between the tools and processes used to produce our BAW devices and silicon-based MEMS, transferring our process into the STC-MEMS foundry will accelerate the technology into production. In addition, we believe that some of the foundry processes used in silicon-based MEMS manufacturing may be utilized in new ways to make further performance improvements in Akoustis’ single-crystal BAW RF filters.”

Akoustis has produced the first experimental single-crystal BAW wafers in the facility.

Akoustis plans to support existing STC-MEMS customers, a business that generates some $3 million in annual revenue. STC-MEMS has been certified as a Trusted Foundry for MEMS processing, packaging and module assembly, which Akoustis plans to maintain and will seek to expand to include BAW RF filters and sensors.

The acquisition includes the following:

  • 120,000 sq. ft. commercial wafer manufacturing facility, which includes Class 100/Class 1000 cleanroom
  • 150-mm silicon MEMS wafer fab operations, including all semiconductor manufacturing tools
  • 57 acres associated with the facility
  • Silicon-based MEMS business with multiple customers — including a tier-1 mobile wireless solutions OEM — and annual revenue of approximately $3 million.

Jerry Neal, co-chairman of Akoustis, said, “A comparable manufacturing facility to build and qualify for production would take up to two years and cost well over $50 million, not to mention the challenges of recruiting and training qualified personnel.”

Akoustis is developing RF filters based on a patented, single crystal BAW (bulk acoustic wave) technology, targeting the growing, multi-billion mobile market.

STC-MEMS facility in Canandaigua, New York.