The SiC and GaN power semiconductor market will exceed $10 billion by 2027!

The SiC and GaN power semiconductor market will exceed $10 billion by 2027!

Key conclusions:

Emerging-market silicon carbide(SiC) and gallium nitride(GaN) power semiconductors are expected to reach nearly $1 billion by 2020, driven by demand for hybrid and electric vehicles, power and photovoltaic (PV) inverters.

The use of SiC and GaN power semiconductors in main drive train inverter for hybrid and electric vehicles will result in a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 35% after 2017 and $10 billion by 2027.

By 2020, GaN-on-silicon (Si) transistors are expected to be at the same price as silicon metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistors (MOSFETs) and insulated gate bipolar transistors (IGBTs), while offering the same superior performance. . Once this benchmark is reached, the GaN power market is expected to reach $600 million in 2024 and climb to more than $1.7 billion in 2027.

IHS Markit Analysis

Expectations for continued strong growth in the SiC industry are high, with the main driver being growth in hybrid and electric vehicle sales. Market penetration is also growing, especially in China, where Schottky diodes, MOSFETs, junction-gate field effect transistors (JFETs) and other SiC discrete devices have emerged in mass-produced automotive DC-DC converters, in-vehicle battery chargers.

Increasingly, the main inverter of the drive train – using SiC MOSFETs instead of Si Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistors (IGBTs) – will begin to appear on the market within 3-5 years. Since a very large number of devices are used in the main inverter, far more than the number in the DC-DC converter and the car charger, this will quickly increase the equipment requirements. Perhaps at some point, inverter manufacturers ultimately chose to customize full SiC power modules instead of SiC discrete devices. Integration, control and package optimization are key advantages of modular assembly. Not only will the number of SiC devices per vehicle increase, but the new global registration requirements for battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) will also increase 10 times between 2017 and 2027, because many governments around the world are targeting targets to reduce air pollution while reducing the number of vehicles that rely on burning fossil fuels. China, India, France, the United Kingdom and Norway have announced plans to ban cars with internal combustion engines and replace them with cleaner vehicles in the next few decades. The prospects for electrified vehicles will generally become very good as a result, especially for wide bandgap semiconductors.

Compared with the first generation semiconductor material Si and the second generation semiconductor material GaAs, SiC has more excellent physical and chemical properties including high thermal conductivity, high hardness, chemical resistance, high temperature resistance, transparency to light waves, and the like. The excellent thermal properties and anti-irradiation properties of SiC materials also make it one of the materials of choice for the preparation of UV photodetectors. In addition, SiC-based sensors can compensate for the performance defects of Si-based sensors in harsh environments such as high temperature and high voltage, and thus have a wider application space. The wide bandgap semiconductor power device represented by SiC is one of the fastest growing power semiconductor devices in the field of power electronics.

SiC power electronic devices mainly include power diodes and transistors (transistors, switching transistors). SiC power devices double the power, temperature, frequency, radiation immunity, efficiency and reliability of power electronics systems, resulting in significant reductions in size, weight and cost. SiC power device applications can be divided by voltage:

Low-voltage applications (600 V to 1.2 kV): high-end consumer applications (such as gaming consoles, plasma and LCD TVs), commercial applications (such as laptops, solid-state lighting, electronic ballasts, etc.) and other areas (such as medical, Telecommunications, defense, etc.)

Medium voltage applications (1.2kV to 1.7kV): electric vehicles / hybrid electric vehicles (EV / HEV), solar photovoltaic inverters, uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) and industrial motor drives (AC drive).

High voltage applications (2.5kV, 3.3kV, 4.5kV and above 6.5kV): wind power, locomotive traction, high voltage / UHV power transmission and so on.

The biggest inhibitor of SiC device growth may be GaN devices. The first GaN transistor to comply with the automotive AEC-Q101 specification was released by Transphorm in 2017, and the GaN device fabricated on GaN-on-Si epitaxial wafers has a relatively low cost and is more expensive than any other product fabricated on SiC wafers. easy. For these reasons, GaN transistors may be the first choice for inverters in the late 2020s, and are superior to the more expensive SiC MOSFETs.

Transphorm’s innovative Cascode structure

In recent years, the most interesting story about GaN power devices is the advent of GaN system integrated circuits (ICs), which encapsulate GaN transistors with silicon gate driver ICs or monolithic full GaN ICs. Once their performance is optimized for mobile phones and notebook chargers and other high-volume applications, it is likely to be widely available on a wider scale. In contrast, the development of commercial GaN power diodes has never really begun because they fail to provide significant benefits over Si devices, and related developments have proven to be too expensive and not feasible. SiC Schottky diodes have been well used for this purpose and have a good pricing roadmap.

GaN power devices and other types of power semiconductors are used in the field of power electronics. Basically, power electronics utilize a variety of solid-state electronic components to more efficiently control and convert electrical energy in everything from smartphone chargers to large power plants. Among these solid-state components, the chip handles switching and power conversion functions.

For these applications, GaN is an ideal choice. Based on gallium and III-V nitrides, GaN is a wide bandgap process, meaning it is faster than traditional silicon-based devices and offers higher breakdown voltages.

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