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25 April 2018

GaN and SiC power semiconductor market growing at 35% CAGR to $1bn in 2020 then $10bn in 2027

© Semiconductor Today Magazine / Juno PublishiPicture: Disco’s DAL7440 KABRA laser saw.

Energized by demand from power supplies, photovoltaic (PV) inverters and adoption in the main powertrain inverter in hybrid and electric vehicles (HEV/EV), the market for silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN) power semiconductors will rise at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 35% from 2017 to nearly $1bn in 2020 then $10bn in 2027, forecasts the ‘SiC & GaN Power Semiconductors Report - 2018’ from IHS Markit.

In particular, by 2020 GaN-on-silicon transistors are expected to achieve price parity with silicon metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistors (MOSFETs) and insulated-gate bipolar transistors (IGBTs), while also providing comparable performance. After this benchmark is reached, the GaN power market is expected to reach $600m in 2024, and climb to over $1.7bn in 2027.

Prospects for continuing strong growth in the SiC industry are high, fuelled predominantly by increasing sales of hybrid and electric vehicles. Market penetration is also growing, particularly in China, with Schottky barrier diodes, MOSFETs, junction gate field-effect transistors (JFETs) and other SiC discretes already appearing in mass-produced automotive DC-DC converters and on-board battery chargers.

It looks increasingly likely that powertrain main inverters — using SiC MOSFETs instead of silicon IGBTs — will start to appear on the market in 3-5 years, says Richard Eden, IHS Markit’s principal analyst, power semiconductors. As there are many more devices used in main inverters than in DC-DC converters and on-board chargers, the required quantity will also rise rapidly. There may come a time when inverter manufacturers eventually choose custom full-SiC power modules over SiC discretes, he adds. Integration, control and package optimization are the major strengths of module assemblers.

Not only will the number of per-vehicle SiC devices increase, but new global registration demand for both battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) will also increase 10-fold between 2017 and 2027, as many global governments aim to reduce air pollution and lower dependence on vehicles burning fossil fuels, notes the report. China, India, France, Great Britain and Norway have already announced plans to ban cars with internal combustion engines in the coming decades, replacing them with cleaner vehicles. The prospects for electric vehicles generally, and for wide-bandgap semiconductors specifically, are therefore very good, the report reckons.

The biggest inhibitor to massive growth for SiC components could be GaN components, it is forecast. The first automotive AEC-Q101-qualified GaN transistor was launched in 2017 by Transphorm, and GaN devices manufactured on GaN-on-Si epiwafers boast considerably lower costs. They are also easier to manufacture than anything produced on SiC wafers. For these reasons, GaN transistors could become the preferred choice in inverters in the late 2020s, ahead of more expensive SiC MOSFETs.

The most interesting story for GaN power devices in recent years has been the arrival of GaN system integrated circuits (ICs), which are GaN transistors co-packaged with silicon gate driver ICs, or monolithic all-GaN ICs, says the report. Once their performance is optimized for mobile phone and laptop chargers and other high-volume applications, usage may become prevalent in wider applications. In contrast, commercial GaN power diode development never really started, because they would not offer significant benefits over silicon devices, and developing them proved too costly to be viable, notes IHS Markit. SiC Schottky diodes already work well for that purpose and a have a good pricing roadmap, it concludes.

See related items:

GaN and SiC power semiconductor market to surpass $1bn in 2020 then $3.7bn in 2025

SiC & GaN power semiconductors market to grow 17-fold to $2.5bn in 2023

Tags: GaN SiC Power electronics

Visit: https://technology.ihs.com/601312/sic-gan-power-semiconductors-report-2018

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