Components | June 13, 2012

Global SiC semi devices market worth USD 5.34bn by 2022

Silicon Carbide is an upcoming alternate material to pure silicon in the field of semiconductors and electronics.
For many decades in the latter half of the twentieth century, silicon carbide was used in various other sectors, in several applications where advanced features of silicon carbide useful for semiconductors such as inherent radiation-resistance, high-temperature operating capacity, high voltage and power handling capacity, flexibility to be used a substrate, were discovered.

Since then, extensive research studies took place to utilize silicon carbide for semiconductor devices and electronic systems. The first commercial use of SiC in semiconductor devices started at the turn of the century. Since then, SiC has penetrated into three major sub-segments of the semiconductor industry; namely the power semiconductors industry, the opto-semiconductor industry, and the high-temperature semiconductor industry.

The penetration of silicon carbide was the first in high-temperature semiconductors, followed by power semiconductors and opto-semiconductors. While the penetration growth rate is healthy and substantial in high temperature, the penetration rate in power semiconductors is explosive.

One of the prime reasons for this is the growing application areas in the high-voltage (>1 kV) ranges, where SiC offers unique unbeatable efficiency over pure silicon. In the power semiconductors, several transistors and diodes came into the market since 2003, with enormous growth in the volume of power discretes (MOSFETs, IGBTs, Diodes & Rectifiers, Thyristors and other transistors) boosting the total revenue of the SiC power semiconductors market.

Over the past few years, several research and developments activities took place to develop SiC-based discretes and ICs that have advanced and sophisticated characteristics and offer better flexibility for use in several power and high-temperature applications. The SiC semiconductor devices market is expected to grow robustly at a high CAGR of 37.67% from 2012 to 2022.

The SiC market’s competitive landscape had only a handful of players in the beginning of the previous decade, but it quickly emerged into a vast network with more than forty key players combining both materials and devices. Currently, the overall SiC power semiconductors market accounts for less than 1% of the total power semiconductors market, but over the next ten years, the entire base of power semiconductors and electronics players is expected to penetrate this new value chain, thereby rapidly increasing the percentage share. The global SiC semiconductor devices’ market revenue stood is estimated to be roughly $218 million in 2012 and forecasted to reach $5.34 billion by end of 2022.

In the case of SiC power semiconductor market, the phenomenal growth rate of approximately 35% to 50% Y-o-Y is expected to continue for the following years and the forecasted revenue for SiC power semiconductors is more than $4 billion by end of 2022 at a CAGR of 45.65%, penetrating substantially into the global power semiconductors market, occupying a share of 13% by volume in 2022.

Initially, the SiC opto-semiconductors market revenue was higher than that of the power semiconductors, but in 2011, the situation reversed. The SiC opto-semiconductors market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 25.46% and cross $600 million by 2022. Primary reason for the relatively lesser CAGR of SiC opto-semiconductors is the shift of industry preference to sapphire and silicon as substrates over SiC, mainly due to the trend of using GaN in the Epitaxy layer for the rising demand in the new devices segment, high brightness and ultra-high brightness LEDs.

The SiC opto-semiconductors market and high temperature semiconductor markets are currently niche segments, but expected to grow at healthy CAGRs. Important players who are among the top 10 in the overall SiC semiconductor market, as they have also deeply established bases in the SiC opto and high temperature semiconductor market segments.

The SiC high-temperature semiconductors market is expected to have an excellent growth, but not as fast as power semiconductors, primary reason being that it is a niche area, with lesser focus on industry players and fewer number of industry players. The other reasons are cost concerns, relatively lesser demand, narrow application areas, and so on. The SiC high-temperature semiconductors market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 21.87% from 2012 to 2022, crossing $350 million by 2022.

In features aspects, the silicon carbide devices are much smaller, lighter, and more efficient than silicon semiconductor devices that were used before. Continuous developments are going on in the fabrication of silicon carbide semiconductor devices such as power MOSFETs, power JFETs, power thyristors, power Schottky diodes, and the other similar discretes. The silicon carbide semiconductor devices possess potential to operate at high temperatures, power levels, and voltages. The number of applications is increasing day by day in various industries that include telecommunication, automotive, industrial, power electronics, solar and wind and even lighting.


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