More semiconductor companies are gearing up to start operations in their new silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN) power management IC fabs in the second half of the year.
STMicroelectronics began SiC wafer production at its fab in Sweden last month. The company acquired the fab when it bought Nortel’s semiconductor unit. The wafers produced at the fab is used in STMicroelectronics’ production of power chips.
The company had transferred the fab to a one for 200mm SiC after it acquired it.
It had used two fabs previously, one in Italy and another in Singapore, to manufacture 150mm SiC wfers.
It has procured additional SiC wafers from SiCrystal, a subsidiary of Rohm Semiconductor, and Wolfspeed, a subsidiary of Cree.
STMicroelectronics had said the transition to 200mm from 150mm will double the amount of component produced per wafer.
The firm plans to handle 40% of SiC wafer production on its own by 2024.
Rohm began building its Apollo fab in Japan in December last year. The fab has begun 200mm wafer-based SiC power chip evaluation earlier this month. The fab will go live within the year. The company is aiming to began mass production of SiC power chips in 2024. It is aiming for a global market share of 30%.
Infineon Technologies is planning to start operation of its 300mm power chip fab at Austria in September. It was originally planned to go live around the end of the year.
The firm is accelerating the process to meet demand from the car industry, which is suffering from the global chip shortage.
Infineon had said at its second quarter conference call that it expects its SiC chip sales to double this year from last year. It is aiming for sales of 170 billion euros from the business.
Nexperia is planning to spend US$700 million from June for the next 12 to 15 months to expand its existing two fabs to ramp up GaN chip production.
SiC and GaN chips has wider band gaps, increased power efficiency and durability compared to silicon chips. They can also be made more smaller, which is increasing demand for power management applications.
SiC chips are being applied in solar inverters, electric cars and motor drives. GaN is being used in power supply devices, data centers and RF equipment as well as electric cars.
According to Yole Development, SiC chip market is expected to grow 30% on average from 2019 to 2025. It will be worth US$2.5 billion by 2025, according to firm.
Yole also said the GaN power management IC market is expected to grow 70% per year on average from 2020 to 2026. The market is expected to be worth US$1.1 billion by 2026, according to the firm.