How megatrends will drive More-than-Moore wafer usage

How megatrends will drive More-than-Moore wafer usage

Market news |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

More-than-Moore components include MEMS sensors, CMOS image sensors and power devices, smartpower and RF devices. The combination of 6-inch and 8-inch wafer used for these components is forecast to represent more than 60 percent of total More-than-Moore (MtM) wafer consumption but despite silicon’s dominance in the semiconductor area, alternative substrates are disrupting the More than Moore market.

More-than-Moore wafer use reached almost 45 million 8-inch equivalent wafers in 2017. The wafer usage is expected to reach more than 66 million 8-inch equivalent wafers by 2023, representing an almost 10 percent CAGR between 2017 and 2023.

“The megatrends are covering the following market segments: 5G including wireless infrastructure and mobile, mobile with additional functionalities, voice processing, smart automotive, augmented reality, virtual reality and artificial intelligence,” said Amandine Pizzagalli, an analyst with Yole, in a statement.

Power, 5G, mobile and automobile

Driven by the increasing deployment of renewable energy sources, industrial motor drives and growing deployment of electric vehicles the market for wafers for power devices is expected to show a CAGR of almost 13 percent from 2017 to 2023. In 2017, power semiconductors accounted for more than 60 percent of overall MtM wafer starts.

Overall wafer usage broken down by component category in 8-inch equivalent wafers. Source: Yole Developpement.

5G cellular communications requires new antennas and filtering functionality and stringent requirements to achieve higher data rates will lead to increasing demand for RF components such as RF filters, power amplifiers and low noise amplifiers to ensure access to tomorrow’s radio network.

Meanwhile the increasing functionality of mobile devices will see increased numbers of MtM devices being integrated. These will include fingerprint sensors, ambient light sensors, 3D sensing, microphones, and inertial MEMS devices. This will, in the near future, contribute to strong wafer growth in the MEMS & sensors wafer market.

Next: Smart automobiles

Smart automobiles are expected to drive consistent growth of CMOS image sensor and sensor wafer production over the next five years, fueled by the expanding integration of high-value sensing modules such as radar, imaging, and lidar. Although automotive will be mainly supported by these growth areas, classical sensors such as MEMS pressure sensors and inertial MEMS will still continue growing at a reasonable rate, supporting the standard automotive world.

In terms of wafer size, the MtM wafer market is dominated by the 6-inch wafer format, followed by the 8-inch size, which is mostly supported by power device applications.

Substrate used by More than Moore wafer size and component type. Source: Yole Developpement.

However, though 6-inch will continue increasing in the next few years, its share will decrease compared to 8-inch. “We expect 8-inch wafer diameter to progress significantly and surpass the 6-inch wafer size by 2023,” said Amandine Pizzagalli from Yole. And she adds: “This transition will be driven first by power and MEMS and sensor applications, where the vast majority will convert their components from six-inch to eight-inch over the next five years due to increasing volume production.”

Nevertheless, 12-inch will represent the fastest growth from 2017 to 2023, with a 15 percent CAGR. The 12-inch wafer demand should also grow from 3.3 million units in 2017 to 7.5 million in 2023, mainly fueled by back-side illuminated CMOS image sensors.

In contrast, 4-inch wafer diameter is in large demand today for driven by RF SAW filter products. However, 4-inch’s adoption will decrease due to the transition from 4-inch to 6-inch for these applications. Yole still sees some MtM products manufactured in wafer sizes below 4-inch, i.e. 3-inch and 2-inch wafer formats. However, these represent a very small volume, and the analysts expect such sizes to die out, aside from small volumes still used for producing MEMS, power, and RF SAW devices.

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