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Jan 10th, 2014
Thick SOI susbtrate market: a 10% CAGR to 2012
In 2012, MEMS applications will account for 46% of the demand for thick-SOI wafers, representing a global market of over $115M
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The term thick-SOI refers to a semiconductor substrate with an active, single-crystal silicon layer whose thickness exceeds 1µm. It lies on a buried oxide which is set on top of a silicon wafer carrier. This structure is widely used in MEMS and in Power Device electronics.

In 2007, thick-SOI substrates accounted for a $72M market, representing approximately 380,000 6” (equiv.) wafer units.
MEMS currently accounts for 38% of this market, and this figure is expected to exceed 45% by 2012. The other outlet for these products is the power semiconductor industry.

MEMS business is boosting thick-SOI demand thanks to the market dynamism of products such as accelerometers or gyroscopes, which are now widely used in numerous consumer products (cell-phones, game-pads, cameras…). MEMS-related activities are expected to drive more than 300,000 6” thick-SOI substrates in 2012.

Power electronics was the first sector with a need for thick-SOI: this technology was developed to design and manufacture some of the plasma TV (PDP) drivers ICs. As a result, the very high market penetration of plasma technology in large flat panel displays led to very rapid ramp-up in this segment. In 2006, about 200,000 6”-thick SOI wafers were processed. This being said, competition from LCD technology is currently reversing this trend: whereas the CAGR of thick-SOI PDP-related business was routinely above 25% in the past years, annual growth is forecasted to be only 6% after 2008.

The leading company in the thick-SOI wafer business is still SEH (J), followed by SUMCO (J).Asia supplies about 75% of all thick-SOI wafers and is consuming in between 40% to 50% of the worldwide wafer volume in MEMS and Power Electronics.

Due to its involvement in both sectors, namely MEMS and Power electronics, DENSO (J) still leads the pack of the TOP 25 thick-SOI users, with STM, NEC and Fuji following fairly closely behind. The largest pure-MEMS player is Silex Microsystems, the Swedish company. In 2011, the $100M mark will be reached for substrates, and 10% CAGR is forecasted until 2012.




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