In Silicon Valley, the semiconductor industry is heavily focused in designing the low resistance/high power circuits to ensure the reliable operations of multi-tasked equipment and sophisticated gadgets in the automobiles. The power electronics market has left its footprints globally; and the major market for the power electronics ecosystem in semiconductors lies in Asia-Pacific (APAC) countries such as South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, China, and ‘others’ that include India, Malaysia and Singapore. The other segments such as the Americas and Europe follow the APAC in terms of the power electronics market.
With the increasing demand of the low power circuits in the cell phones, lap top computers, automotive industry etc. the interest in the Power Management is growing very fast. Power electronics technology has achieved a significant prime of life after a number of decades of dynamic evolution of power semiconductor devices, converters, PWM techniques, machines, motor drives, advanced control systems, and simulation techniques. The impact of this industry is felt not only on the global industrialization and general energy systems, but also on energy conservation, renewable energy systems, and electric/hybrid vehicles; as well as in the medical field related applications. Fig. 1 illustrates the growth trends of the industry.
The basic principle of power electronics is based on the conversion and control of electrical power with the help of power semiconductor devices. These power devices operate as a switch and, therefore, the efficiency of power electronics systems reaches as high as 99%. The advancement in technology has significantly reduced the cost of power electronics over the years. Also, the size of electronic devices has become smaller and the performance of these devices has shown a tremendous amount of improvement. The power electronics applications are proliferating in ICT, industrial, power, aerospace & defense, automotive, medical, and transportation systems.
Companies leading the Power Electronics industry, include Texas Instruments Inc. (U.S), Vishay Intertechnology Inc. (U.S), Infineon Technologies AG (Germany), NXP Semiconductors (U.S), Fairchild Semiconductor (U.S), Microsemi Corporation (U.S), Toshiba Corp. (Japan), Hitachi Co., Ltd (Japan), Mitsubishi Electric Corp. (Japan), Rockwell Automation Inc, ST Microelectronics NV, Taiwan Semiconductors Manufacturing Company Limited (TSMC), Freescale Semiconductor Inc, Alstom, ABB Ltd, GAN Systems Inc, Solicore Inc and Renesas Electronics Corporation. Fig. 2 shows the power device market size from 2006 to 2020.
Fig. 3 shows the general process flow of the semiconductor manufacturing.