LONDON Ė The market for discrete semiconductors, module and ICs dedicated to the power electronics industry will reach $20 billion in 2012, according to market research firm Yole Developpement (Lyon, France).
The technology is addressing applications from hybrid automobiles, through photovoltaic inverters to lighting, heating and covers from single-digit voltages to thousands of volts.
Yole analysts reckon IGBTs account for $1.6 billion in the medium to high voltage market. Superjunction MOSFETs present faster switching frequencies and the market is set to be worth $567 million in 2012.
The more exotic technologies of gallium nitride GaN and silicon carbide SiC promise to surpass silicon in performance but it is early in the technology deployment and materials and devices are expensive.
The materials are having an impact in the market for LEDs for lighting applications and this is leading some manufacturers to consider leveraging this for power applications, Yole said.
"GaN and SiC are not mature yet for the power electronics market: the first one requiring technological enhancement of the manufacturing process, especially for the epitaxy thickness, and the second one being an expensive material that does not allow implementation within consumer-like businesses," said Yole, in a statement.
IMS Research (Wellingborough, England) puts the 2012 power semiconductor market size at $32 billion, forecasting that it will grow by 5 percent from 2011.