29 Jul 2022

Vertex Partnership Group

Third-Generation Semiconductor: The Next Wave?

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Today, almost every technological device houses a microprocessor or transistor - from compact devices such as calculators to mobile phones, and even microwaves. In a world where we are powered up, plugged in and connected digitally, the demand for technologies powered by semiconductors have risen.

This can be observed in the evolution of semiconductors from first to third generation. Technology advancement is phasing out traditional silicone semiconductors which is deemed as less effective in high power applications - notably electric vehicles (EVs), data centres, and renewable energy production. Third generation semiconductors - Gallium Nitride (GaN) and Silicon Carbide (SiC) - presents superior physical properties that could potentially replace the first and second generation semiconductor materials.

Industry players are moving into the third generation semiconductors. There is an increase in demand for base station components, as well as components used in industrial energy transition (i.e. power inverters and converters). Moving to the automotive industry, Tesla’s adoption of SiC MOSFET designs for its in-house inverters and converters has signaled the increasing importance on using third generation semiconductors among auto players.

More recently, China has also introduced its 14th five-year plan with a strong emphasis on expanding its third generation semiconductor production capacity. With the growing demand, will the semiconductor industry rise to prominence once again?

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