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Is GaN-on-Si disruptive technology?


The mass adoption of GaN on Si technology for LED applications remains uncertain. Opinions regarding the chance of success for LED-On-Si vary widely in the LED industry from unconditional enthusiasm to unjustified skepticism. Although significant improvements have been achieved, there are still some technology hurdles (such as performance, yields, CMOS compatibility, etc.).

The differential in substrate cost itself is not enough to justify the transition to GaN on Si technology. The main driver lies in the ability to manufacture in existing, depreciated CMOS fabs in 6” or 8”. For Yole Développement, if technology hurdles are cleared, GaN-on-Si LEDs will be adopted by some LED makers, but it will not become an industry standard.

Yole is more optimistic about the adoption of GaN on Si technology for power GaN devices. Contrary to LED industry, where GaN on Sapphire technology is the main stream and presents a challenging target, GaN on Si will dominate the GaN based power electronics applications. Although the GaN based devices remain more expensive than Si based devices, the overall cost of GaN device for some applications are expected to be lower three years from now according to some manufacturers.

Source:  Yole Développement, France.

Source: Yole Développement, France.

In 2020, GaN could reach more than 7 percent of the overall power device market and GaN on Si will capture more than 1.5 percent of the overall power substrate volume, representing more than 50 percent of the overall GaN on Si wafer volume, subjecting to the hypothesis that the 600 V devices would take off in 2014-2015.

GaN targets a $15 billion served available device market. GaN can power 4 families of devices and related applications. These are blue and green laser diodes, LEDs, power electronics and RF (see image).

Regarding GaN-on-Si LED, there will be no more than 5 percent penetration by 2020. As for GaN-on-GaN, it will be less than 2 percent. Yole considers that the leading proponents of LED-On-Si will successful and eventually adopt Si for all their manufacturing. Those include Bridgelux/Toshiba, Lattice Power, TSMC and Samsung. It expects that Silicon will capture 4.4 percent of LED manufacturing by 2020.

GaN wafer could break through the $2000 per 4” wafer barrier by 2017 or 2018, enabling limited adoption in applications that require high lumen output other small surfaces.

WLCSP market and industrial trends


WLCSP technology and industrial roadmap. Source: Yole Developpement, France.

WLCSP technology and industrial roadmap. Source: Yole Developpement, France.

According to Yole Developpement, France, the number of devices packaged with ‘fan-in WLCSP will exceed 25 billion units in 2012, exceeding more than 2 million 300mm equivalent wafers. Yole recently held a seminar on wafer level chip scale package (WLCSP).

Yole estimates the fan-in WLCSP industry value to be over $1.9 billion in 2012. This includes wafer level services (including test) and die level services, as well as the service margin. This market value is expected to keep on growing at a 2010-2016 CAGR of 12 percent, despite decreasing prices. However it does not grow equally across all device types.

The use of fan-in WLCSP for a given application tends to be more and more standardized: it is now clear, for example, that the penetration rate of fan-in WLCSP for connectivity devices in handsets is close to 100 percent, while some players still proposed QFN or BGA solutions a couple of years ago for this same application.

The maximum die size increased recently, and it is now common place to find 36mm² fan-in WLCSP devices in smartphones and tablets. The world record is 50mm² with 309 balls. Any fan-in WLCSP device larger than 4mm in side needs to be underfilled on the PCB. According to Yole, fan-in WLCSP is a maturing technology and market. It still grows faster than the average semiconductor packaging market mainly thanks to the fast growth rates of smartphones and tablet PCs in which WLCSP considerably helps save space and costs. Read more…

Compound semiconductors substrates market to reach $1bn by 2010

July 6, 2010 Comments off

Thanks largely to Yole Developpement’s David Jourdan, in Lyon, France, it was great to be a part of Yole’s latest seminar on the compound semiconductors substrates market.

According to Yole, in 2010, the compound semiconductors substrates market will reach a size of $1 billion, with only 1.14 percent of the overall semicon processed surface.

Presenting the general conclusions and perspectives, Dr Philippe Roussel, project manager Compound Semiconductors, Yole said that compound materials are now well established in the semiconductor world. Their intrinsic properties such as wide bandgap, thermal conductivity, voltage breakdown capability, electronic mobility, etc., are offering key added value that cannot be proposed by silicon.

However, silicon is still in the race where CS devices are installed, such as:
* high frequency silicon transistors above 20 GHz and over are under development in many places.
* blue/white LED for which people are trying to grow GaN epilayers on large diameter silicon wafers (6 inch and more).
* power electronics — using technologies such as super junction and/or trench gate approach, silicon is able to offer very low power loss characteristics, always benefitting from large diameter possibility.

He added that the only way to make CS materials a success story for a long time and to secure attractive revenues is to increase the wafer size while decreasing price.

Further, new CS materials are now in pre-production, offering enhanced performance in different ways. Some of these are:

* Al nitride (AlN): It offers a very interesting capability for manufacturing UV LED sources. The first two-inch single crystal wafers are now availabe in the market and the teechnology is improving on a regular basis.
* Zinc oxide (ZnO): Native or epitaxial ZnO offers a perfect lattice matching to grow the GaN based blue or white LEDs. Small diameter wafers are already available and wider epiwafers are under consideration by LED makers.
* Diamond: It is also under investigation. So far, only small pieces of single crystal diamonds have been produced. However, polycrystal diamond is fully available and first demonstrators of RF or power devices have been exhibited.

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