Akoustis Acquires STC-MEMS, Gaining BAW Manufacturing Facility
Mobile filter start-up Akoustis Technologies completed the acquisition of STC-MEMS, a semiconductor wafer manufacturing operation and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) business in Canandaigua, New York. The deal includes STC-MEMS’ 150‑mm wafer manufacturing tools and Class 100/1000 cleanroom, as well as the 57 acres where the 120,000 square foot facility is located.
The acquisition, announced in March (2017), enables Akoustis to internally manufacture its single-crystal bulk acoustic wave (BAW) filters. Akoustis, with headquarters north of Charlotte, North Carolina, plans to consolidate all aspects of wafer manufacturing to the New York facility, which will reduce wafer cycle time for its filter products.
STC-MEMS is accredited as a Department of Defense (DoD) Category 1A Trusted Foundry for MEMS processing, packaging and assembly. Akoustis is pursuing the required security credentials to transfer the accreditation and plans to transition up to $1.5 million of existing MEMS revenue to Akoustis in FY 2018, which begins July 1.
Akoustis paid $2.75 million in cash at closing, plus conventional closing costs including a $96,000 net inventory adjustment. To motivate Akoustis to expand into upstate New York, Empire State Development (ESD) offered the company up to $8 million in performance-based incentives under the Excelsior Jobs Program.
Jeffrey Shealy, CEO of Akoustis, said, “This acquisition is an enormous win for our shareholders and its significance cannot be overstated. It immediately provides a step-function improvement in our ability to design and manufacture our patented BAW RF filters and will accelerate our timeline into commercial production.”
Akoustis is pursuing the development of BAW filters for the mobile market using high purity, single-crystal piezoelectric materials. BAW filters currently use polycrystalline materials. According to Akoustis, the properties of single-crystal materials improve electro-mechanical coupling, which translates to wide filter bandwidth. The single-crystal materials also have high thermal conductivity along the path of heat flow, which increases the power handling capability of the filter.