SiC, GaN, and other WBG materials: a small but growing business!
SiC, GaN, AND OTHER WBG MATERIALS REPRESENT NEW CHOICES FOR POWER ELECTRONICS APPLICATIONS
When people think about WBG materials for power electronics applications, they usually think of GaN or SiC – which is not surprising, since SiC and GaN are currently the most advanced WBG technologies for power electronics applications. However, there are materials with an even larger band gap which can further increase power device performance:
- Thanks to its high band gap and doping possibility at room temperature, Ga2O3 has been proposed for power electronics applications. Compared to existing SiC and bulk GaN technology, its key selling point is the possibility of using melt growth to make large, inexpensive wafers.
- Diamond is the ideal candidate for power electronic applications, thanks to a combination of unique properties.
- Having initially targeted UV LED applications but finding subpar demand, some AlN suppliers are now targeting the power market in order to diversify their activities. AlN’s key value proposition for power applications is the fact that it has the largest band gap.
We invite you to discover state-of-the-art materials like SiC, GaN, Ga2O3, diamond, and AlN, and see the technology roadmap in order to understand the evolution of WBG materials for the power electronics market.
This report also describes alternative technologies for GaN and SiC production and postulates whether a breakthrough is possible that will ameliorate production.
SiC N-TYPE WAFERS WILL INCREASE TO $110M BY 2020 WITH A 21% CAGR
Driven by the SiC-based power devices market, the n-type SiC substrates market will grow from around $35M in 2014 to $110M in 2020, with a 21% CAGR.
4” wafers are still the market’s preferred product for power electronic applications. However, some suppliers are now able to provide 6” wafers with good enough quality for power devices -- and an 8” SiC wafer was demonstrated by II-VI in 2015.
The average price for 6” is still 2.25x higher than 4”, but the price continues to decrease and will drop below the threshold in late 2015 - early 2016. The transition to 6” is beginning; in fact, ROHM, a SiC device leader, just announced that mass production on 6” wafers will commence in Q3 2015.
The n-type SiC substrate market player rankings have stabilized of late. Cree remains the market leader, with Dow Corning, SiCrystal, and II-VI right behind. There are now four Chinese SiC suppliers, and their current announced capacity is more than 150,000 wafers per year, with further increases expected. Also, in early 2015 TankeBlue demonstrated a 6’’ n-type wafer. Yole Développement views these Chinese players as serious market challengers.
This report contains more information regarding the SiC wafer and epiwafer market players, and a market projection.
MANY PLAYERS ARE COMPETING ON THE GaN-ON-Si EPIWAFER OPEN MARKET. WHAT WILL HAPPEN?
GaN-on-Si technology is very challenging due to large lattice and CTE mismatch between GaN and silicon. That said, GaN-on-Si’s main issues have been resolved and several companies have begun commercializing power devices based on this technology.
Attracted by the device market’s potential, players with different origins are active on the GaN-on-Si epiwafer open market and thinking of selling epiwafers to device players. These players are:
- Silicon substrate suppliers wanting to move up the value chain, i.e. Siltronic
- Device foundries like Episil that want to move down the value chain
- Some LED chip suppliers, i.e. San’an
- Large epi houses like IQE
- Epigan and other pure GaN epi houses
Since the power GaN device business is only in its early stages, the related GaN epiwafer open market is not yet well-established. Competition is very intense, and Azzurro’s 2014 bankruptcy has illustrated the risks faced by start-up GaN epi houses.
This report includes a detailed description of the GaN-on-Si epiwafer market and Yole Développement’s vision for its future.
NOT ONLY IS THERE GaN-ON-Si, BUT ALSO GaN-ON-GaN. WHAT’S THE STATUS OF BULK GaN WAFER PRODUCTION?
Almost all commercial GaN wafers are produced by HVPE, mainly used for optoelectronics applications. However, HVPE GaN substrates have an undesirably high dislocation density that restricts their usefulness for power switches.
Ammonothermal growth is expected to be more competitive with the arrival of a new acidic Ammonothermeral method developed by Mitsubishi Chemical and Soraa. Na-flux LPE growth also seems promising for power electronics devices.
Japanese companies dominate the bulk GaN wafer market. Sumitomo Electric, Mitsubishi Chemical, and Hitachi Metals (now Sumitomo Chemical) lead in HVPE production. Mitsubishi is actively developing Ammonothermal growth while NGK is developing Na-flux growth. Non-Japanese players are currently in small-volume production or in the R&D stage, and most of them are developing HVPE methods to target the LED market. If GaN-on-GaN technology is adopted by the power electronics market, Japanese players will maintain their leading position.
This report provides more information on bulk GaN and the alternative solutions being proposed to produce much cheaper bulk GaN and SiC wafers -- which could potentially disrupt the GaN and SiC market.
The objectives of this report are to provide:
- Analyze the interest in WBG-based materials for power electronics applications
- Present the SiC wafer and epiwafer industrial landscape and project the market for power electronics applications through 2020
- Present the GaN-on-Si epiwafer market and its potential for power electronics applications through 2020
- Describe alternative solutions for GaN and SiC wafer production
- Discuss the state-of-art bulk GaN market and GaN-on-GaN power devices
- Provide an overview of the state of Ga2O3, diamond, and AlN for power electronics applications
- Present the main remaining challenges facing WBG materials players