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Power Electronics

Yole Développement has continuously followed the silicon carbide (SiC) market for power electronics and high-power radio-frequency (RF power) applications for more than 10 years. We analyze trends throughout the supply chain, including in SiC wafers, devices, modules, systems and end applications, to produce best-in-class market research.

Recently, Yole Développement released three reports related to the SiC wafer industry:

RF Power Market and Technologies 2017: GaN, GaAs and LDMOS
Power SiC 2017: Materials, Devices, Modules and Applications
Status of the Power Electronics Industry 2017

Over the years, SiC technologies have proven their capability to enhance product performance in power electronics, which uses n-type SiC wafers, and RF power, which uses semi-insulating SiC wafers. Overall, the SiC wafer market promises healthy and sustainable growth, with a 34% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2016-2022 for power electronics applications and a 22% CAGR from 2016-2022 for RF power applications.

The SiC power device market was already worth $250M in 2016. There has been generally positive feedback about these devices, and multiple other signals suggest that their market adoption is going to accelerate. The leading Chinese electric vehicle (xEV) manufacturer, BYD, confirmed that it is using SiC in its on-board chargers. SiC is now on the road, not just on trial. Tracking the xEV market, xEV charging infrastructure market is growing fast, which will contribute to the growth of SiC power device markets. Different players have confirmed the adoption of their devices in xEV charging infrastructure.

Power SiC device market size split by application
(Source: Power SiC 2017: Materials, Devices, Modules and Applications report, Yole Développement, Aug. 2017)

Yole SiC device market size split by application Sic

In RF power applications, revenues from devices using SiC substrates exceed $330M. Sales are soaring with ever more implementations in diverse markets. GaN-on-SiC is replacing silicon laterally diffused MOSFET (LDMOS) devices in telecom macro base stations, vacuum tubes in radar and avionic applications, as well as other broadband applications. GaN-on-SiC’s increased implementation in base stations and wireless backhaul stems from the growing demand for data traffic and higher operating frequencies and bandwidths. In future network designs, new technologies like carrier aggregation and massive multiple input, multiple output (MIMO) will actually put GaN-on-SiC in a better position than LDMOS, thanks to its high efficiency and broadband capability.

Market adoption means SiC wafers have become one of the main bottlenecks in the supply chain. As it is mandatory to get the right quality level and wafer size, only a few companies are qualified by device manufacturers. Market volume growth induced a shortage for 6-inch SiC wafers, stopping prices decreasing in 2017. After SiCrystal’s acquisition by Rohm, Norstel was acquired by a Chinese company in 2017. Further investments are also now being considered to increase SiC wafer production capacity.

Some market leaders want to be vertically integrated to secure their supply and leverage wafer quality for their devices. One such company is Wolfspeed, which Cree span out in 2015 to focus on RF power and power electronics with devices using SiC wafers. Its market position and device quality has enabled Wolfspeed to get important design wins in both applications. In 2017, Infineon attempted to acquire Wolfspeed’s device activities and secure its SiC wafer supply. Such an investment would have enabled Infineon to strengthen its leading position in power electronics and RF power while giving Wolfspeed the capital investment required to develop its manufacturing capacity and continue benefiting from the market’s growth.

A new era is arriving for SiC. The proof of concept has been successful. Now, fasten your seatbelt, we’re ready to take off – enjoy the ride!

Source: www.yole.fr 

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