Powering Innovation: Evolving Semiconductors for Better Technology


Semiconductor Markets

Smaller, faster, more efficient technologies require comparable power supplies. In this week’s TechNavio Weekly Topic, we take a look at some drivers, challenges and trends forcing evolution in two major semiconductor markets.

Global Super Junction MOSFET Market

Super junction MOSFETs are power semiconductor components used for high-frequency and high-voltage applications, such as server, telecom, computing, industrial power supply, UPS, solar inverter, lighting, and consumer electronics. 

CAGR: 11.66 percent from 2014-2018

Driver: Growing Use of Super Junction MOSFETs in Flat Screen TVs

As TVs become thinner, their power supplies have to follow suit. Super junction MOSFETs allow for smaller, thinner power supplies that also help reduce switching losses and increase system efficiency and reliability.

Challenge: Cyclical Demand

Super junction MOSFETS are used in consumer technology like desktop PCs, notebooks, LCD TVs and DVD players, to name a few. But consumers are fickle, especially when it comes to tech. Demand for these products obviously fluctuates depending on what’s popular with consumers at that point in time. A big downside to this, is these fluctuations in the market can result in an inventory pile-up in the supply chain, delayed time-to-market, and reduced profitability for market vendors, all of which pose a threat to actual growth in the market.

Trend: Need for Miniaturization of Semiconductor Devices

The computing, networking and telecom, and consumer electronics industries are already extensive users of super junction MOSFETS, and these same segments are driving the need to miniaturized semiconductor devices. These devices use a combination of the power IC and super junction MOSFETs either as a monolithic device or as a system in a package, which helps with integration in devices with board space restrictions. Currently, electronic devices use semiconductors with circuit line widths in the 20 nm range. However, ultra-miniature circuits with line widths in the 10 nm range are expected to be introduced during the forecast period.

Global IGBT-Based Power Module Market

An IGBT is a semiconductor component used in power electronic devices across several industries because it has high-power efficiency, high blocking voltage, and the ability to work on low power.

Figure 1: IGBT by Application 2013

CAGR: 12.32 percent from 2014-2018

Driver: Adoption in the Renewable Energy Segment

It has been estimated that global energy consumption will increase by over 60 percent by 2030, which has given steam to the search for renewable energy sources.  This has been a major driver in the IGBT-based power module market, as they can be used in wind turbines. The modules are used in turbine converters as well as in grid converters and inverters in solar panels to increase power efficiency and switching speed. The growing need for increased thermal capacity and power cycling capacity is also playing a significant role in driving the adoption of IGBT-based power modules for wind turbine applications.

Challenge: Competition from Alternative Technologies

IGBT-based power modules are increasingly facing competition from alternative switching devices such as thyristors, SiC, GaN, and MOSFETs. For instance, SiC chips are increasingly replacing IGBTs in high-voltage applications, eliminating the dependence on IGBT’s for fast switching in higher voltages. Therefore, the IGBT-based power modules are being increasingly deployed in medium and low-voltage applications.

Trend: Use of IGBTs in Consumer Appliances

Even competition from alternative technologies won’t fully dampen growth in the IGBT market. These modules are suitable for use in many different applications, and increased uptake from the consumer segment in a big trend being witnessed. IGBT-based power modules are increasingly being used in consumer applications for illumination control in plasma display panels, heating control in induction cooking heaters, power factor correction circuits and inverters in air conditioners, and flash control in cameras. This trend is expected to grow during the forecast period as IGBT-based power modules are used more and more in medium and low-voltage applications.

For more drivers, trends and challenges in both these growing markets, view our Global Super Junction MOSFET Market 2014-2018 and Global IGBT-based Power Module Market 2014-2018 report.