SiC, GaN and Wideband Gap Semiconductors

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The study objectives of this report are:

  • Tends to focus on the world’s largest Gallium Nitride (GaN) Substrates manufacturers, defining, describing, and analyzing the company’s sales volume, value, market share, market competitive landscape, and recent development.
  • To forecast the value and volume of the Gallium Nitride (GaN) Substrate’s submarkets across major geographies.
  • To conduct a competitive analysis of market changes such as expansions, partnerships, new product launches, and acquisitions.
  • To research and analyze the worldwide Gallium Nitride (GaN) Substrate’s market size (value and volume) by company, key regions, products, and end-user, breakdown data from the last five years, and forecast data to 2028.
  • To have a thorough understanding of the Gallium Nitride (GaN) Substrates market by delineating its numerous sub-segments.
  • To provide thorough information on the major elements impacting the market’s development (growth potential, opportunities, drivers, industry-specific challenges, and risks).

Scope of the Report:

The study’s report covers in-depth research on the Global Gallium Nitride (GaN) and Silicon Carbide (SiC) Substrates Market 2022 with an assessment of the industry’s development in specific regions.

Silicon carbide and gallium nitride technology advancements during the previous few decades have been marked by progress, expanding industry adoption, and the prospect of billion-dollar earnings. Infineon of Germany introduced the first commercial SiC device in 2001 in the form of a Schottky diode. Rapid growth has ensued, and the industrial sector is presently on track to reach $4 billion in revenue by 2026.

GaN originally stunned the industry in 2010 with the introduction of EPC’s ultrafast switching transistors. Although market acceptance has not yet reached the level of SiC, power GaN sales might reach $1 billion by 2026.

The key to each technology’s future commercial success is electric and hybrid electric automobiles. The EV/HEV industry is the sweet spot for SiC–at least 60% of the over $ 2.5 billion markets is predicted to originate from this sector.

Fig: Silicon Carbide (SiC)
Fig: Silicon Carbide (SiC)
  • Tesla launched the SiC power device industry in 2017 when it became the first manufacturer to equip its Model 3 with SiC MOSFETs. The device, which was obtained from STMicroelectronics, was merged with an in-house primary inverter design. Other manufacturers have quickly followed suit, including Hyundai, BYD, Nio, and General Motors.
  • Geely Automobile of China has announced a collaboration with ROHM Japan to develop SiC-based traction inverters for its electric vehicles. NIO, China’s answer to Tesla, will equip its cars with a SiC-based electric drive system. Simultaneously, BYD, a joint venture between a carmaker and a semiconductor company, has been developing SiC modules for its whole range of electric vehicles.
  • Yutong, a Chinese maker of electric buses, said this year that it would employ SiC power modules made by StarPower China in its bus powertrains. The modules include Wolfspeed SiC devices.
  • Hyundai will also include Infineon’s SiC-based power module for 800-volt battery systems in its electric vehicles. Toyota uses Denso’s SiC booster power modules in its Mirai fuel cell EVs in Japan. Meanwhile, GM just secured a deal with Wolfspeed to provide SiC for its electric vehicle power electronics.
  • While European automakers have been slower to adopt SiC, change is on the horizon. Renault and STMicroelectronics announced a collaboration in June to develop SiC and GaN devices for EVs and HEVs. Daimler, Audi, and Volkswagen are anticipated to make other announcements soon.
  • Notably, for Wolfspeed, Infineon, STMicroelectronics, ROHM, and Onsemi, car OEMs prefer to purchase wafers and devices from a variety of providers to assure consistent supply. When you include the massive amounts of money that China and others are investing in the SiC supply chain, volume sales will continue to grow.

Along the way, the perplexing question of cost is addressed. At the component level, silicon IGBTs are much less expensive than their SiC counterparts and are unlikely to be phased out of power applications very soon. However, Tier-1 manufacturers and OEMs have suggested that incorporating high-power density SiC into a design, such as an inverter, reduces system costs due to the space and weight reductions associated with the use of fewer components.

However, what does this mean for GaN? This wide-bandgap semiconductor has failed to replicate Sic’s success in the electric vehicle market. However, because of its high-frequency functioning and efficiency, OEMs are either very interested in the technology or have research efforts ongoing.

The early days

GaN power devices are already utilized in high-end solar inverters and are increasingly employed in quick chargers for smartphones. US-based Power Integrations and Chinese firm Innoscience all provide GaN power ICs for the expanding fast-charger sector.

With this action, GaN power device sales could reach $100 million by 2021. However, as GaN device producers attempt to expand their markets, this value might reach $1 billion by 2026. And the EV/HEV market leads the way.

GaN in EVs is new. The automobile industry has already created several agreements with many power GaN providers that have produced and auto-qualified 650-V GaN devices for onboard charging and DC/DC conversion.

For example, GaN Systems of Canada provides onboard chargers to US EV startup Canoo and has teamed with FTEX of Canada to incorporate 650-V GaN power devices into systems for e-scooters. Transphorm of California has partnered up with Marelli to produce onboard charging and DC/DC conversion devices.

STMicroelectronics will likely provide Renault with unqualified auto-qualified components. EPC is partnering with Brightloop, a French company, to create low-cost power supply converters for off-highway and commercial vehicles. TI certified its 650-V GaN chips for automotive applications last year.

Will GaN technology make it to the primary inverter of EV powertrains, reaping extraordinarily large quantities equivalent to SiC technology? It seems to be feasible.

Nexperia of the Netherlands teamed up with Ricardo of the UK to produce an EV inverter based on GaN. Vis IC Technologies of Israel announced a partnership with German car supplier ZF to develop GaN semiconductors for 400-V driveline applications.

Then, in September, GaN Systems announced a $100 million agreement with BMW to build GaN power devices for the German automaker’s EVs, demonstrating OEMs’ commitment to GaN.

Navitas will also become a publicly listed business with a market value of $1.04 billion after uniting with Live Oak Acquisition. Onboard chargers and DC/DC converters are among the applications for which GaN power ICs are being used. As a public corporation, it seeks to support EV/HEV product development. Also, early work on GaN modules indicates that the compound semiconductor is following in Sic’s footsteps, with industry participants gearing up for greater wide-scale integration. A power assessment module kit from GaN Systems is available to design engineers, while Transphorm has been collaborating with Fujitsu General Electronics on a GaN module for industrial and automotive applications.

What’s ahead for SiC and GaN? Will GaN have the same success as power SiC devices in an EV industry worth billion? Market predictions would be drastically altered if OEMs used GaN in drivetrain inverters. But for now, we can only wait.

Power electronics using silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN) are becoming more common, lowering prices, and boosting the need for improved tools to design, validate, and test these wide-bandgap devices. SiC and GaN are vital in areas like electric car battery management. Their proven usage in safety-critical applications is garnering interest in additional areas.

Because SiC delivers faster switching, battery management is the killer application for Siemens EDA, says Lee Harrison, automotive test solutions manager. “Its ability to block high voltages makes it ideal for EV voltage regulators.”

Chipmakers like STMicroelectronics and Infineon have improved yield and reduced defectivity to the point that this technology may now be deployed commercially.

STMicroelectronics

GaN is also being utilized in commercial RF systems like 5G and radar for enhanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). “Depending on the power needs of these high-frequency systems, GaN is becoming a dominating semiconductor,” said David Vype, senior product marketing manager at Cadence. The semiconductor is now extensively employed in RF power and low-noise amplifiers.

SiC MOSFETs, on the other hand, are ideal for charging stations, which will be the backbone of worldwide BEV and PHEV infrastructure. “The use of silicon carbide in automotive applications is also assisting other industrial uses, while also assisting designers in developing future SiC and GaN devices for space and avionics,” Di Marco added. “SiC MOSFETs and GaN HEMTs are complementary in that they serve distinct purposes. SiC MOSFETs and their capacity to operate at voltages between 650V and 1,700V make them excellent for traction inverters, DC-DC converters, and onboard chargers.

On the other hand, GaN functions at voltages ranging from 900V to 100V. GaN may eventually prove to be a viable technology for the latter two applications as it develops and becomes more cost-efficient, owing to its greater frequency capabilities.

Technical advantages of SiC and GaN

Power amplifiers based on GaN microwave monolithic integrated circuits (MMICs) have been created for a variety of applications, including infrastructure, missile defense, and radar.

Simultaneously, wide bandgap devices typically have tenfold the electric breakdown field strength and threefold the bandgap, allowing them to operate at significantly higher temperatures than conventional silicon technology, which makes them ideal for power regulation and management, Harrison explained.

Design and manufacturing challenges of SiC and GaN

SiC and GaN are referred to as “Wide Bandgap Semiconductors” (WBG) owing to the energy required to blow up the electrons in these materials from the valence band to the conduction band: whereas silicon requires 1.1eV, SiC (Silicon Carbide) requires 3.3eV, and GaN requires 3.4eV. (Gallium Nitride). This leads to a higher relevant breakdown voltage, which in certain applications might approach 1200-1700V. The WBG devices have shown the following benefits because of the manufacturing procedures utilized.

The WBG devices have demonstrated the following benefits because of the manufacturing standard operating procedures.:

  • extremely low internal resistance enables up to 70% efficiency improvement over a silicon equivalent device
  • low resistance helps to improve thermal performance (by increasing the maximum operating temperature) and thermal dissipation, as well as the easily attainable power density
  • heat dissipation enhancement enables the use of simpler packages with a significant reduction in size and weight compared to the Si equivalent
  • because of the very short switch-off time (near to nil in the case of GaN), extremely high switching frequencies may be used in conjunction with the lower temperatures attained.

WBG devices may be utilized to create every form of the device found in traditional power electronics. Additionally, traditional Si devices have hit their limitations in a variety of application sectors. Given these premises, it is obvious that WBG technology is critical for the future of power electronics, as it provides the groundwork for novel applications in a variety of disciplines.

SiC and GaN differences

The market share of silicon and new WBG devices varies depending on the application’s power and frequency requirements. Despite basic similarities, SiC and GaN components are not interchangeable and vary in terms of system characteristics.

Sic devices can withstand higher voltages (up to 1200V), while GaN devices can withstand lower voltages and power densities; GaN devices can be used in very high-frequency applications (high electron mobility with consequent dV/dt greater than 100V/s compared to 50V/s for MOSFET Si) with unprecedented efficiency and performance. If the parasitic capacitances of the component are not near zero, current spikes on the scale of tens of amperes may be formed, causing issues in the electromagnetic compatibility test phase.

Sic’s have an edge over GaN’s in terms of packaging since they can be used to quickly replace IGBTs and MOSFETs with new Sic’s, whereas GaN’s perform better with SMD packages (that are lighter and small but relegated to new projects).

The challenge for both types of devices is to design and build gate drivers that maximize component-specific characteristics while minimizing parasitic components (to avoid performance degradation) (hopefully like those used to drive classic silicon components).

Because SiC devices were created before GaN, they are now cheaper and more popular. However, costs are connected to the manufacturing process and market demand, therefore prices are likely to flatten.

Because GaN substrates are more expensive to produce, GaN “channel” devices include a Si substrate. Using a SiC substrate and a new wafer growth process (called trans orphic heteroepitaxy, which prevents the presence of structural defects), the Swedish University of Linköping has recently conducted research to obtain maximum voltages comparable to SiC devices but working at the frequency of GaN on Si. Compared to current solutions, this mechanism has a vertical breakdown voltage of over 3kV and a resistance in the ON state of less than an order of magnitude.

Market and applications

WBG devices are still a growing market, and R&D must better grasp how to maximize their potential. In the next 5 years, WBG is predicted to flood the transistor industry, which is the biggest new technology market.

The most likely uses are electric transportation, telecommunications, and the consumer sector. The WBG will be used in inverters, onboard charging devices (OBC), and anti-collision systems (LiDAR) in electric mobility and self-driving vehicles, according to sales forecasts.

In telecoms, 5G will be the driving engine for the WBG, requiring millions of new stations to be more energy-efficient, smaller, and lighter, with improved performance and lower prices.

New gadgets will be widely used in the consumer sector. The proliferation of mobile devices and hence the requirement for fast charging will primarily impact wireless power and charging technologies.

The Bandgap Is A Critical Semiconductor Property

It reflects the amount of energy necessary to shock an electron into a conducting state. A wide bandgap (WBG) permits transistors with increased power and switching speed. Gallium nitride (GaN) and silicon carbide (SiC) are two WBG devices that are featured in the table with other semiconductors. 

Semiconductor’s bandgap comparison
Table: Semiconductor’s bandgap comparison

Among the advantages of the WBG are the following:

  • Reduction of up to 90% of energy losses during power conversion.
  • Up to tenfold the switching frequency of silicon-based devices.
  • Higher maximum operating temperature than Si-based gadgets.
  • Energy-efficient systems throughout their lives.

Although WBG semiconductors are now more expensive than silicon devices, as manufacturing capabilities improve and commercial applications expand, they may become more competitive in the future. To make WBG materials more cost-effective, several obstacles must be overcome, including:

  • Manufacturing larger-diameter WBG wafers.
  • Utilization of innovative designs that take advantage of the features of WBG materials.
  • Utilization of alternate packaging that permits the use of WBG devices operating at greater temperatures.
  • System design that integrates WBG devices to maximize their specific characteristics.

GaN and SiC semiconductor materials enable the fabrication of smaller, quicker, more reliable, and more efficient devices than their silicon-based counterparts. These features enable weight, volume, and lifespan cost reductions in a broad variety of power applications. The breakdown voltage and on-resistance of Si, SiC, and GaN devices are shown in Figure 1.

Characteristics comparison of Si, SiC, and GaN
Fig: Characteristics comparison of Si, SiC, and GaN

Another semiconductor material with a broad bandgap is gallium oxide (GaO). Although GaO has a low heat conductivity, its bandgap (about 4.8 eV) is greater than that of SiC, GaN, and Si. However, GaO will need further research and development before becoming a significant player in the power system.

SiC

SiC offers the following advantages over Si:

  • On-resistance is approximately two orders of magnitude lower.
  • Power loss in power-conversion systems is reduced.
  • Increased heat conductivity and operating temperature capabilities.
  • Increased performance because of intrinsic material benefits in its physical characteristics.

SiC outperforms Si as a semiconductor material in devices with a breakdown voltage of 600 V or above. SiC Schottky diodes with ratings of 600- and 1200-V are commercially available and widely acknowledged as the best option for increasing the efficiency of power converters.

When it comes to the next generation of efficient power converter switches, wide bandgap semiconductor materials such as gallium nitride (GaN) and silicon carbide (SiC) are the best option. However, each material has distinct benefits. For example, silicon carbide power semiconductors provide good voltage blocking for applications up to 650V and give further advantages as the voltage increases.

The critical next step toward a more energy-efficient society is the utilization of these new WBG power electronics materials, which enable higher power efficiency, smaller size, lighter weight, and lower total cost – or a combination of these features.

The report on the Gallium Nitride (GaN) and Silicon Carbide (SiC) Power Semiconductors market analyses the global, regional, and country-level markets in detail, including market size, segmentation market growth, market share, competitive landscape, sales analysis, the impact of domestic and global market players, value chain optimization, trade regulations, recent developments, opportunities analysis, strategic market growth analysis, product launches, and area marketplace expansion.

According to our most recent study, the worldwide market for Gallium Nitride (GaN) and Silicon Carbide (SiC) Power Semiconductors is expected to reach USD 2487.5 million in 2026, up from USD 772.1 million in 2020, a rise of XX percent. The worldwide market for Gallium Nitride (GaN) and Silicon Carbide (SiC) Power Semiconductors is predicted to increase at a 34.0 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) during the next five years.

Conclusion

SiC and GaN have a bright future in a variety of applications, but most notably in automobiles for battery management, due to their ability to withstand high voltages. Costs will continue to decline as device characterization and modeling assistance improve, and both wide-bandgap materials are projected to make their way into a broader range of applications. The covid-19 epidemic fundamentally altered the industry, affecting consumer behavior, company income, and a range of corporate activities. The semiconductor industry is now concentrating its efforts on employee health and safety, as well as on continual improvements in research, design, and production processes. This continuity is critical since it underlies today’s primary sectors, such as medical and healthcare, as well as ancillary technologies like Industry 4.0, artificial intelligence, and 5G, as well as other segments that are repurposing themselves to battle the pandemic. Additionally, increased investments in power semiconductor innovation demonstrate prospective prospects for industry players in the GaN & SiC power semiconductor markets. The report provides an in-depth analysis of the Gallium Nitride (GaN) Substrate’s market and the major market trends. The market research report contains historical and projected market data, demand, application information, price trends, and company shares for the top Gallium Nitride (GaN) Substrates by region. The analysis segmented the market by application type and region, quantifying both the volume and value of the industry.