In response to that headline question, French research entity Yole Développement claims power electronics will remain one of the most attractive branches of the semiconductor industry for the next decade. With the never ending and ever escalating proliferation of both necessary and unnecessary electronics, who would disagree with that claim? Every player in the market is constantly searching for more efficient power strategies and the semi makers are on the front line in addressing the needs and concerns of all involved.
In its Status of the Power Electronics Industry report, Yole Développement focuses on the trends of disruptive power semiconductors technology and the needs of the general market. First off, Brice Le Gouic, power-electronics activity leader at Yole, sees the 2012 market for power ICs hitting $20 billion. Most of the demand is coming from diverse apps like hybrid cars, PV inverters, lighting, and energy generation/distribution.
Secondly, the report cites insulated gate bipolar transistors (IGBTs) accountable for $1.6 billion in the medium to high voltage sectors. It also points to a trend towards decreasing IGBT voltage ranges to better infiltrate consumer applications. Yole researchers also see super junction metal oxide semiconductor field effect transistors (SJ MOSFETs), which employ faster switching frequencies and offer lower price tags, achieving a plateau of $567 million by year’s end.
Contrasting the unique sectors of the power-semi market.
Another peek into the future, gallium nitride (GaN) and silicon carbide (SiC) devices may surpass silicon’s performance levels if the materials can be developed less expensively. Yet the researchers at Yole figure GaN and SiC are not mature enough for the power electronics market. GaN requires further tweaks and enhancements of its manufacturing process while SiC is just an expensive material not viable for cost-critical consumer goods.
Overall, the Yole Développement report provides a comprehensive breakdown of market forecasts and major-manufacturer shares based on the application, voltage range and market demographics for discrete chips and modules, and wafers used for power-semi manufacturing. For more details and/or to get a full copy or the report, contact David Jourdan at Yole Développement, Lyons, France via telephone or email at +33 472 83 01 90 or [email protected]. And keep in mind, if you want to be chic and sexy, think power semi. ~MD