Traditional silicon-based power semiconductors are reaching their theoretical limitations. Fortunately because of their superior material properties, wide-bandgap power semiconductor devices (SiC [silicon carbide] and GaN [gallium nitride]) can offer performances orders-of-magnitude better than silicon devices. As a result, they are widely expected to be the next generation power devices, according to a new report, Next-Generation Power Semiconductors: Markets Materials, Technologies recently published by The Information Network, a New Tripoli, PA market research company.
"The commercial battle for next-generation power semiconductors is evolving. As a result, many semiconductor manufacturers are attempting to enter the market," noted Dr. Robert Castellano, president of The Information Network. "Already it's a $50 million market, although small compared to the $14 billion silicon-based power semiconductor market.
We see insulated-gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) and power metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET) as the main growth drivers. We project 3.7% average annual growth of the power semiconductor market over the next three years, from $14.2 billion in 2011 (+6% y-y) to $16.7 billion in 2013. We look for strongest growth from IGBTs, although power MOSFETs had the largest market share in 2010 due to its fast switching speed, near-perfect gate impedance, fast switching speed, excellent stability, and a relatively low on-state resistance.
Because of their attractive performances, wide-bandgap power semiconductor devices have been under intense R&D. In development since the early 1990s, SiC material for power device applications has gone through the longest period and come furthest in terms of maturity and reliability.
We project the next-generation power semiconductor will exhibit a compound annual growth rate of 72% between 2010 and 2015, reaching values of more than $500 million.
Benefiting from the growth of these wide-bandgap devices will be processing equipment. Significant improvements on the technique of growing GaN material on Si substrates have enabled high quality, crack-free GaN epi layers grown on Si, overcoming the 17% crystal mismatch between the two materials crystal faces. For GaN epitaxy on Si or SiC, Veeco and Aixtron will benefit and grow strongly, utilizing their expertise in LED epitaxy.
Silicon MOSFETs use wirebonding and traditional SO or TO packages. GaN on Silicon can be bonded using flip chip. Companies benefiting would be equipment suppliers to the flip chip industry, such as NeXX Systems.
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