Ahead of the curve: “hidden champion” PSC is developing procedures for highly-purified silicon compounds in Bitterfeld-Wolfen

The processors in microelectronics are becoming more and more powerful, quick and small. In order to get the maximum computational output into the smallest space, innovative high-performance materials are required. It requires electronic components which produce little waste heat at peak performance and manage to get through the manufacturing process without generating high temperatures. PSC Polysilane Chemistry GmbH (PSC) is revolutionising the semiconductor market with its patented procedure for producing highly-purified oligosilanes, hydrosilanes and polysilanes. The “hidden champion” from Bitterfeld-Wolfen is often ahead of the curve.

SiCI4 – the source of all innovations

What was originally a by-product from the production of semiconductors is the source of all of PSC’s innovations: silicon tetrachloride or tetrachlorosilane, SiCI4 for short. A procedure developed and patented by PSC makes it possible to extract highly-purified precursors for the production of semi-conductors from SiCI4in a cost–effective way. In terms of quality, the end products are on par at least with those from conventional processes.

Of course, that on its own was not good enough for the developers and partners at PSC. This was followed by other procedures for producing high-performance silicon precursors at the highest level of purity. “At a purity of 99.999999 percent, you can almost count the atoms that don’t belong there,” says managing director Matthias Heuer, emphasising the PSC procedure’s unique selling point, with a wink.

Meanwhile, efficient and competitive processes for manufacturing more than ten different highly-purified oligosilanes, hydrosilanes and polysilanes / oligogermanes, hydrogermanes and polygermanes have been developed. Many of these products were already available on a laboratory scale. However, the scientific and commercial ambition of PSC is to develop a production process for the highly-reactive, innovative substances that combines reliable quality and economic efficiency.

Technology export

The key target markets in the semiconductor industry, so China, South Korea, Canada and France, are served with the patented procedure from Saxony-Anhalt. To develop exports, expensive patent registrations for the individual processes are required in the exporting countries. Being successful here is a long-term task.

This is proven by the four partners, Dr Gerd Lippold, Matthias Heuer, Dr Sven Holl and Dr Christian Bauch. Together with their employees, they’re following their vision in the technology and entrepreneurial centre of Bitterfeld-Wolfen. They’re using revolutionary new approaches in silicon chemistry with a focus on cost-effective production processes for high-performance materials. They’ve already made a name for themselves throughout the world in the first five years of their existence with these forward-thinking niche products.

Ahead of the curve – breakthroughs in cost reductions and properties of new high-performance materials.

The fact that PSC was ahead of the curve with some materials is reflected in the current level of queries. Some special requests from manufacturers of semiconductors and microelectronics could be dealt with using existing samples from the development laboratory. Product purity and low process temperatures will be decisive for future developments in microelectronics. Innovative technologies require innovative materials. So hydrated oligosilanes are in demand in the field of printable electronics. Such precursors can be processed into a kind of “silicon ink”. In the future, they could be used to print circuitry which opens up entirely new possibilities.

Process optimisation as a decisive factor for success

All processes and procedures developed by PSC have the aim of keeping costs as low as possible. Lower energy costs, shorter running times, less wear and tear on the machines and minimal amounts of waste with end products of the highest purity are all factors that make processes economical. With these procedures, highly-purified special materials can be produced at a consistent quality, even when produced by the tonne.

The purification of hexachlorodisilane (Si2CI6), for example, is very time-consuming using conventional procedures. The PSC procedure makes it possible to produce a higher-quality, better yield in a significantly shorter time.

These PSC developments came about in cooperation and collaboration with multiple Fraunhofer institutes. The services of the chemical analytics team at Fraunhofer CSP in Halle were used to prove the purity of the products, for example.

Future silicon chemistry market - the key for new generations of technology

PSC's range of products and procedures can used in a variety of ways. The high-performance materials based on silicone are required for key technologies such as microelectronics, printable and flexible electronics, nano materials, high-performance composite materials, ceramic materials and hard coatings.

The visionaries at PSC want to use their own procedures and order developments to actively help design the future silicon chemistry market from their facility in Bitterfeld-Wolfen. The facility has the best conditions for its own growth, both in terms of space and in terms of the need for staff.

Author: Miriam Fuchs

From October 05. - 07. 2019, the Investment and Marketing Corporation Saxony-Anhalt (IMG) will present the German Life Science region Saxony-Anhalt at the trade fair CPhI worldwide 2019 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

Visit us in Hall 12.1 // Booth 121H20!