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GaN, SiC power IC market to rise steadily thru 2022

Posted: 26 Apr 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:IHS? power IC market? silicon carbide? gallium nitride? photovoltaic?

According to the latest data from IMS Research, part of IHS, the emerging market for silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN) power semiconductors is seen to grow by a factor of 18 during the next 10 years. The healthy forecast is a result of the energized demand from power supplies, photovoltaic (PV) inverters and industrial motor drives, added the market analytics firm.

Global revenue from sales of SiC and GaN power semiconductors is projected to rise to $2.8 billion in 2022, up from just $143 million in 2012, stated IHS. Market revenue is also expected to rise by the double digits annually for the next decade.

SiC Schottky diodes have been around for more than 10 years, with SiC metal-oxide semiconductor field-effect transistors (MOSFET), junction-gate field-effect transistors (JFET) and bipolar junction transistors (BJT) appearing in recent years. In contrast, GaN power semiconductors are only just appearing in the market.

GaN is a wide bandgap material that offers similar performance benefits to SiC but has greater cost-reduction potential. This price/performance advantage is possible because GaN power devices can be grown on silicon substrates that are larger and lower in cost compared to SiC.

"The key factor determining market growth will be how quickly GaN-on-silicon devices can achieve price parity and equivalent performance as silicon MOSFETs, insulated-gate bipolar transistors (IGBT) or rectifiers," said Richard Eden, senior market analyst for power semiconductor discretes and modules at IHS. "IHS expects this will be achieved in 2019, driving the GaN power market to pass the $1 billion mark in 2022."

SiC Schottky diode revenue exceeded $100 million in 2012, making it the best-selling SiC or GaN device currently. But even though SiC Schottky diode revenue is forecast to grow until 2015, it will decline when lower-priced 600V GaN diodes become available. Still revenue will recover to approach $200 million by 2022, with sales concentrated at voltage ratings of 1.2kV and above.

By then, SiC MOSFETs are forecast to generate revenue approaching $400 million, overtaking Schottky diodes to become the best-selling SiC discrete power device type. Meanwhile, SiC JFETs and SiC BJTs are each forecast to generate less than half of SiC MOSFET revenues at that time, despite their likelihood of achieving good reliability, price and performance. End users now strongly prefer SiC MOSFETs, so vendors of SiC JFETs and BJTs have a major task ahead in educating their potential customers on the benefits of these technologies.

While IHS predicts strong growth for the SiC and GaN power semiconductor market in the years ahead, the forecast has been significantly reduced compared to the outlook from one year ago.

The main reason for the change is the reduced forecasts for shipments of equipment that use power components, resulting from today's gloomier view of the global economy. SiC adoption forecasts also have been slashed because device prices are not falling as fast as originally assumed a year ago.

In contrast, industry confidence in GaN technology has increased, with more semiconductor companies announcing GaN development projects.





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