Power semiconductors – The Real Scenario

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Businesses of all sizes have been hit hard by the pandemic’s economic impact. Lockdowns by governments around the world (to prevent the spread of the virus) have resulted in industries taking a hit and disrupting supply chain operations, as a large part of manufacturing includes the work on the factory floor, where people are in close contact as they collaborate to boost productivity. This has led to supply chain and manufacturing operations being disrupted across countries.

Only on a far greater scale does a power semiconductor do what conventional semiconductors do. Incredibly large electrical currents, voltages, and frequencies may be handled by these extremely powerful components.

The term “power semiconductor” refers to semiconductors that are utilized in power electronics, a solid-state electronics application that controls the flow of electric power. Devices for the general public utilize them. Several materials may be utilized in the manufacture of power semiconductors, including gallium arsenide (GaAs). A larger bandgap allows for higher conductivity in power semiconductors like gallium nitride and silicon carbide, which are more often employed in the fabrication of these devices.

By 2027, the global market for power semiconductors is expected to reach $583. 3 billion. It was predicted that the worldwide market for Power Semiconductors was US$207.

What is a power semiconductor?

Electrical signals may be rectified and amplified using power semiconductors in the same way as other semiconductor devices. When compared to normal semiconductors, however, these devices are engineered to withstand high current levels and high voltage levels of up to several gigawatts.

Switching devices and rectifiers (to convert electrical signals) are among the most common applications of power semiconductors in power management subsystems.

As a general guideline, there are three kinds of power switches: metal-oxide-silicon (MOSFET) transistors, insulated gate bipolar (IGBT) transistors, and bipolar junction (BJT) transistors (PICs).

Automotive and transportation, renewable energy, consumer electronics, and other industrial applications profit from the use of power semiconductors. With negligible losses, they may be utilized to carry energy across vast distances sustainably and effectively.

An overview of power semiconductor categories

power semiconductor

As previously indicated, power semiconductors used in power management systems fall into a variety of types. Although silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN) has recently joined silicon (Si) as materials used in high-voltage and high-current applications, silicon (Si) is still the most common semiconductor material. Both of the following materials have a larger bandgap than the first two, which decreases power loss and improves efficiency. Among these semiconductors, GaN is the most efficient. The four main types of power semiconductors are briefly described in the following paragraphs:

Power MOSFET

Metal oxide silicon power transistors are semiconductor switches that can withstand a lot of energy and are programmable. At high frequencies, they are the most often utilized kind of power transistor. Gate, drain, source, and body terminals are all found on four-terminal devices. Additionally, Power MOSFETs are simple to use and maintain and have low gate drive power. The component’s output current is controlled by the input voltage.

IGBT

IGBT

It is another form of a completely programmable power semiconductor switch that is often utilized for low-to-medium frequency applications. Like power MOSFETs, they feature a gate with a high impedance, which means that switching a device on or off requires relatively little power. Electronic devices such as air conditioners and electric automobiles commonly employ IGBTs as standalone devices because of their large power ratings and low on-state voltage.

Thyristor

Thyristor

Power semiconductor switches with two or three terminals are called thyristors. Regulators that regulate the flow of an electrical current in either a one-way or two-way arrangement are known as silicon-controlled rectifiers. For example, these components may be found in household appliances, power tools, and outdoor gear.

Power diode (rectifier)

Power diode

Power diodes are semiconductor devices that can correct very powerful electrical impulses despite their inability to be controlled. Many amperes and kilovolts may be handled by them. An anode terminal, a cathode terminal, and a P-N junction semiconductor are all included in this kit. Power diodes have a bigger P-N junction than normal diodes. Even though the P and N layers are equally doped, the P layer is more heavily doped than the N layer.

Reliability and failure

Power semiconductors may readily fail when subjected to high operating voltages, or high voltages and currents. For example, an IGBT’s gate oxide layer may be punctured by an overvoltage. To guarantee dependable functioning, they are generally used at 20% below their claimed voltage rating.

Power semiconductors may also fail due to overheating. On-resistance, the resistance between the drain and source of a transistor, causes electronic components to heat up. The higher the on-resistance, the more power is lost, and heat is created. Thermal control is consequently critical in every power electronics system. The goal of the research is to minimize on-resistance and better preserve high-performance components.

Performance Evaluation and Performance Test of Power Semiconductors

In what way may these power semiconductors be judged? And how do you conduct performance testing for this purpose? Power semiconductors must meet a few performance standards, including:

  • greater breakdown voltage
  • reduced leakage current
  • low On-state resistance
  • higher power supply level and
  • rapid switching times.

Consequently, it can take greater voltages, has less On-state resistance, and switches quicker than other devices. In an ideal world, no power is lost due to leakage current or switching time. The developers strive to go as close as possible, but there is a physical limit. It is also vital to evaluate the equipment’s performance. You can build a gadget that can do high-speed switching and move it to the next column, but you can’t test it.

The product must also tolerate high temperatures and be stable in large production. Because the end-user environment varies. It will not break at 150°C or -50°C. A decision must be made.

Price and yield will be greater if just one in 100 devices meets performance standards. Of course, only a few objects can withstand the extreme conditions of space, such as being unrepairable. Even if the product’s yield is adequate, the design is flawed.

When used for items like autos or sites like power plants and substations, a dependability test is required. The utilization of testing equipment capable of reliably evaluating these dependability measures is required for the development of high-performance power semiconductors.

Asia-Pacific to Witness the Fastest Growth

Power protection solutions for the semiconductor and electronics industry

Worldwide semiconductor market development is being encouraged by government initiatives, with Asia-Pacific dominating the global SiC power semiconductor industry. Discrete semiconductor sales in China, Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea account for over 65 percent of worldwide totals, further propelling the region’s semiconductor sector. In contrast, countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, and Malaysia all play a key role in the region’s overall market supremacy.

India can emerge as the next chip hub if it overcomes fundamental constraints

  • With a CAGR of 10.1%, the Indian Electronics and Semiconductor Association estimates that India’s semiconductor component industry would be valued at USD 32.35 billion by 2025. (2018-2025). R&D facilities from across the globe are flocking to the country. Because of the government’s continuing Make in India effort, the semiconductor business is likely to benefit from new investments.
  • In addition, the region is major electronics manufacturing center, producing millions of electronic items each year for export and domestic use. These electronic components and gadgets contribute significantly to the market share of our research area.? Among other things, the rising demand for consumer electronics in India has helped the regional market’s rise. It is anticipated that India’s electronics consumption would grow at a CAGR of 25 percent between 2012 and 2020, according to the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
  • Electricity generation in China is the greatest in the world. The demand for energy in the nation is predicted to rise, which would lead to an increase in energy output. For example, China will reveal the world’s second-largest solar power facility in October 2020. The solar park in Qinghai Province, which has a capacity of 2.2GW, is one of the biggest in the world. An energy super grid in the country’s western regions is intended to include this power facility.
  • China’s automotive sector has been growing, and the nation is becoming a more significant player in the global automotive market. China’s government views the automobile industry, which includes the auto components business, as a cornerstone industry. China’s automotive production is expected to exceed 30 million units by 2020 and 35 million units by 2025, according to the government.
  • Additionally, India’s electric car sector is gaining traction as a result of the government’s ambitious objectives and activities. Over the last several years, India’s public authorities have made multiple policy announcements connected to electric cars, demonstrating a strong commitment, real action, and substantial ambition to deploy electric vehicles in the nation. For example, DENSO Corporation stated in December 2020 that it has commenced mass production of its newest booster power module, which is equipped with high-quality silicon carbide (SiC) power semiconductors and is designed to help create a low-carbon civilization. This component is utilized in Toyota’s Mirai vehicle, which debuted on December 9, 2020.
  • Additionally, in July 2020, Japanese power component manufacturer ROHM partnered with Chinese electric power train manufacturer Leadrive Technology to establish a collaborative silicon carbide power laboratory in Shanghai’s free-trade zone. Such occurrences are anticipated to boost the region’s market development.

Competitive Landscape

Intense competition exists in the market for silicon carbide power semiconductors. These include Infineon Technologies AG (Infineon), Texas Instruments Inc. (TI), ST Microelectronics NV (ST Micro), Hitachi Power Semiconductor Device (HPSD), NXP Semiconductor (NXP), Fuji Electric Co. Ltd. (Fuji), Semikron International GmbH (Semikron), Cree Inc. (Cree), ON Semiconductor Corporation (ONS), and others. To get a larger piece of the market, these firms are launching new goods, forming alliances, and making acquisitions.

  • June 2021 – Hitachi, a Japanese electronics manufacturer, revealed intentions to expand its presence in Hillsboro by constructing a large semiconductor research center to collaborate with industrial customers in the United States to develop new technologies.
  • April 2021 – Infineon Technologies AG expanded its 1200 V product portfolio with the addition of a new Easy PACK 2B module. The module has a three-level Active NPC (ANPC) architecture, which includes Cool Sic MOSFETs, TRENCHSTOP IGBT7 devices, and an NTC temperature sensor.

The power semiconductor market is expected to expand significantly throughout the projected period of 2021-2027. The power semiconductor market is expected to expand at a 5.20 percent compound annual growth rate during the forecast period, owing to the increasing incorporation and widespread adoption of advanced technology, particularly in various consumer electronic products such as smartphones and smartwatches, as well as others such as IoT devices. The market is home to a variety of tiny electronic devices and gadgets because they play a critical role in facilitating simple access to technology and its acceptance across several vertices.

The power semiconductor market is focusing on the development of devices that have increased power electronics characteristics. Among these qualities are the product’s small weight, effective use of available power, high speed, and mobility. Power semiconductors are gaining widespread acceptance for usage across a variety of business and marketing verticals, as customers demonstrate a growing interest in the use of electronic vehicles with enhanced functionality. These aspects are anticipated to aid the power semiconductor market’s operations in gaining pace and growing at the projected CAGR rate and market value until the conclusion of the worldwide forecast period in 2027.

COVID 19 Analysis

Since the new coronavirus was declared a pandemic, several efforts have been implemented to contain the pandemic’s spread and minimize pandemic waves, which add additional obstacles and difficulties for both experts and patients. The epidemic poses a significant challenge to healthcare providers and services. It has resulted in additional challenges such as a lack of assistance from the labor and logistic sector, impairing the capacity of power semiconductor market participants to manufacture by current demand, resulting in a significant disruption of the supply chain mechanism. Additionally, the loss of jobs has harmed people’s buying capacity to purchase items and equipment with current features and technology. This has resulted in a further fall in the market’s sales throughout the predicted period, leaving players unable to meet their functional expenditure. Several firms and industrial units have also ceased operations.

power

However, the fast-paced world is compelling individuals to invest in equipment and goods that make trustworthy and beneficial use of technology while also ensuring simplicity of use and convenience. Thus, power semiconductor manufacturers are investing in research and development initiatives that will enable them to introduce high-quality, technology-based products on a large scale, address the needs of a broader global audience, and help the market grow by the forecast period ending in 2027.

Market Dynamics

  • Drivers: The growing need for non-traditional energy sources such as today’s and solar energy is creating a widespread need for a power management system that is efficient and makes prudent and intelligent use of available resources without wasting or damaging them. Additionally, the car industry is embracing new safety measures that need the widespread usage of power semiconductors. This will result in a significant increase in demand for power semiconductors throughout the projection period, which concludes in 2027.
  • Restraints: The power semiconductor industry is heavily reliant on technology and its ongoing progress throughout time. The fact that the power semiconductor industry is subject to restricted technical resources and developments is one of the primary impediments to the market growing at the predicted rate during the current forecast period of 2021-2027. The major players in the power semiconductor market are investing in expanding the availability of efficient technologies, which would assist increase worldwide demand for semiconductors across many industrial verticals throughout the projection period.
  • Technology Analysis: Power semiconductor usage is accelerating across a variety of new industry verticals, including consumer electronics, information technology, power distribution, rail transportation, and automotive. The power semiconductor industry is seeing an increase in demand for small solutions that are well-suited for use with existing market goods and devices. Businesses are pursuing collaborative growth methods, which are anticipated to strengthen their capacity to deliver industry-specific equipment and products. There is a broad tendency among players to concentrate on the development of novel technologies, such as those based on silicon carbide. This kind of initiative will assist participants in expanding their worldwide visibility and awareness.

India’s big dreams of semiconductor manufacturing and the challenges that lie ahead

The newest chip shortage has sent shockwaves across whole sectors of the economy that depend on them. From automotive to electronics, the chip scarcity has wreaked havoc on businesses and governments. In the middle of this unprecedented crisis, India is in discussions with Taiwan to establish a $7.5 billion indigenous semiconductor assembly facility, with the Indian government contributing at least half of the cost, Bloomberg reported.

However, although India dreams big of becoming the world’s next semiconductor manufacturing center, the probable result will be considerably more modest or disappointing. This is not the first time the government has attempted to entice semiconductor manufacturers to establish operations in India.

The scarcity has only served to deepen and expose India’s critical deficit in the global electrical supply chain. India is a net importer of gadgets and cellphones while being one of the biggest consumer markets for both. Around 40% of India’s demand is satisfied by imports from China, despite the two countries’ recurrent geopolitical impasses.

India’s failed bids

The government previously offered international corporations the opportunity to establish facilities in India in 2017 by eliminating customs duties on the import of the necessary machinery and equipment. No reaction was elicited by the sop.

In 2020, the federal government invited enterprises interested in building up semiconductor manufacturing facilities to submit another expression of interest (EoI). The deadline for responding to the EoI was April 30, 2021, and there were no apparent takers since the government did not announce any proposals from chipmakers. A prior unsuccessful effort to lure semiconductor giant Intel to India – which ultimately selected Vietnam – serves as a harsh reminder of India’s lack of significant progress on this front.

Taiwan’s stranglehold and other competitors

Not just India aspires to be a chip manufacturing powerhouse. China has invested significant resources and political determination to establish itself as a key chip production and processing center. However, China’s manufacturing prowess falls short of the capabilities to create the most advanced and efficient CPUs available.

Taiwan, on the other hand, and particularly the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, has a near-monopoly in the worldwide semiconductor manufacturing business. The corporation manufactures more than half of all semiconductor chips created worldwide, while the nation as a whole account for more than 60% of global manufacturing. Other significant centers include South Korea and the United States.

A concerted effort

India now intends would be on the same platform to feed its expanding market and serve as a center for a key sector, particularly as the globe begins to shift toward greener technologies that all need semiconductor chips.

India is already home to the world’s leading semiconductor designers, with Intel, AMD, Nvidia, and Samsung, among others, establishing locations around the nation. However, inexperience, a lack of finances, and a lack of technical know-how are predicted to be significant challenges.

However, semiconductor manufacturing is a resource-, knowledge-, and emission-intensive operation. Factories need a continual, uninterrupted supply of electricity and enormous amounts of water, in addition to technical expertise and a supporting ecosystem that handles the remainder of the processing between the manufacturing of the chips and their eventual application in goods.

The government is currently searching areas for the projected region of plants with appropriate land, water, and labor while pledging to fund 50% of capital investment from 2023 forward, as well as tax rebates and other incentives, according to sources familiar with the situation.
However, whether the government can capitalize on the rising shortfall – which is predicted to persist through 2023 – and position itself as a possible center for FAB units or fails to attract enterprises once again will be determined in the coming years.

Recent Developments

  • According to statistics issued by the Indian Electronics and Semiconductor Association, the semiconductor industry is expected to develop profitably throughout the projected period ending in 2023, reaching a market value of USD 32.35 billion. This will affect semiconductor demand as well, boosting the market’s growth. The Indian market is already hard at work on its Make in India initiative, which is expected to provide a high rate of return on investment.
  • 5G technology is widely requested and being developed on a worldwide basis. This demand is being fueled by developments in wireless communication technologies and is expected to give a substantial growth potential for the market participants’ goods and services. Additionally, the widespread deployment of GaN power transistors is increasing.
  • The Indian government’s NITI Aayog Action Plan focuses on Clean Transportation. This initiative began in 2018. Numerous proposals have been made as part of this strategy, including the elimination of all permission requirements for EVs and the promotion of large-scale electric transportation. Numerous countries are following a similar path by constructing the infrastructure necessary for the usage and adaptation of autonomous and electric cars. Additionally, investments are made in advance and in real-time. This will contribute to the availability of improved sensors, ensuring that the market remains viable by the conclusion of the forecast period in 2027.