Epitaxial Wafer Market
Epitaxial Wafer, also known as Epi-wafer is placed over other silicon wafer through epitaxial process. Epitaxy is a process in which a monocrystalline silicon layer is deposited over the polished crystal surface of a silicon wafer. This wafer acts as semiconducting substrate for applications such as microelectronics, photovoltaic, and photonics. There are two types of epitaxial wafer named; Homoepitaxy and Heteroepitaxy.
Major factor driving growth of the epitaxial wafer market is increasing use of LED lighting across the globe and this is fueling demand for epitaxial wafer. For instance, according to Coherent Market Insights’ analysis, the rate of LED lighting penetration in 2015 was 15% and it has increased to 27% in 2016, globally. The factor attributed to growth of LED lighting is increasing demand for energy efficient lighting products that help in reducing consumption of electricity and this is a major factor for replacing conventional lighting products with LED lighting across residential, commercial, and industrial sectors. LED lights are mainly incorporated with number of ICs. These ICs are manufactured from silicon wafer chip as silicon wafer is a cheap semiconductor that can easily slice into wafers, and subject to CMOS processes to turn each wafer into thousand ICs. Thus, in order to increase the performance of silicon wafer, the manufacturer coats this silicon wafer with epitaxial layer. This growth of epitaxial layer over silicon wafer helps in increasing electrical characteristic of the wafer, which in turn increases the power capability of LED lighting.
Initial high capital investments will restrict small players to enter in the semiconductor manufacturing sector. This factor will further restrict growth of epitaxial wafer market in the near future.
Increasing silicon wafer shipments is further driving growth of the market. For instance, according to SEMI (a global industry association serving the manufacturing supply chain including Semiconductors, Sensors, High-Brightness LED, Photovolatics PV, Flat Panel Display, Micro-ElectroMechanical Systems, and Flexible, Hybrid and Printed Electronics), total silicon wafer area shipments reached 3,255 million square inches during the third quarter of 2018, a 3.0% rise from the 3,164 million square inches shipped during the second quarter of 2018.
Global Epitaxial Wafer Market: Regional Insights
The market for epitaxial wafer in Asia Pacific accounted for largest share in the global market in 2017. The factor attributed to growth of this market is increasing penetration of smartphones, increasing adoption of IoT, self-driving cars, and others. For instance, according to the Coherent Market Insights’ analysis, the number of smartphone users in India was 292.6 million in 2016 and it has grown to 342 million in 2017. Increasing demand for smartphones and advancement in smartphone technology has led to development of thinner and smaller ICs. These silicon wafers form the building blocks of semiconductors, and semiconductor devices or chips are fabricated on these substrates. These semiconductors are then used in electronic devices ranging from computers to consumer electronics, telecommunication products, etc. Hence, growing demand for these electronic products is driving manufacturers to coat this wafer with epitaxial wafer that further increase the power of these electronic devices. Therefore, this factor is expected to propel demand for epitaxial wafer in the region over the forecasted period.
Moreover, presence of key manufacturers such as Samsung, Sony, LG, Toshiba, Panasonic, Toyota, and Honda makes this region largest consumer of semiconductor ICs. The presence of players accelerates manufacturing of ICs. Hence, this will be another factor resulting in increasing demand for epitaxial wafer in this particular region.
Major players operating in the global epitaxial wafer market include EpiWorks Inc., Global Wafers Japan Co. Ltd., Nichia Corporation, SHOWA DENKO K.K., Siltronic AG, Desert Silicon Inc., Electronics and Materials Corporation Ltd. Intelligent Epitaxy Technology Inc.IQE plc. , Jenoptic AG, MOSPEC Semiconductor Corporation, Norstel AB, Ommic S.A., Silicon Valley Microelectronics Inc. ,SVT Associates Inc. Universal Wafer Inc., Wafer Works Corporation, Xiamen Powerway Advanced Materials Co. Ltd., and Visual Photonics Epitaxy Co. Ltd.
Epitaxy wafer acts as an interface between a thin film and a substrate. The growth of epitaxy wafer means the crystal growth being conducted on crystal of substrate and disposed in accordance with foundation of substrate crystal phase. The epitaxial layer can be deposited over another substrate in two ways: Homoepitaxy and Heteroepitaxy. Homoepitaxy is when a crystalline film is grown with the same material as the substrate. Heteroepitaxy is more common, and grows a crystalline film made of a different material than the substrate.
Increasing installation of solar panel across the globe is one of the factors driving growth of the market. This is owing to growing awareness among consumers about the advantages of using solar energy. For instance, according to Coherent Market Insights’ analysis, number of solar panel installed in 2015 was 50.7 gigawatt and it has reached up to 76.7 gigawatt in 2016, globally. These solar panels are equipped with cells that are created from silicon wafers as silicon wafer have semiconducting properties. The usage of silicon wafer in solar cells has led to increasing efficiency of solar panel, which means it generates more power per unit compared to conventional material that used in solar cells. Thus, advantages offered by silicon wafer will positively increase the usage of silicon wafer for manufacturing of solar cells. Thus, increasing demand for silicon wafer will drive wafer manufacturers to coat that silicon wafer with epitaxial layer in order to increase the efficiency of the panel. The coating of epitaxial wafer further contributes in increasing performance of solar panels. Hence, all these factors are expected to propel demand for epitaxial wafer over the forecasted period.
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