In a narrow sense, semiconductor materials mainly include elemental semiconductors (such as germanium and silicon) and compound semiconductors (such as gallium arsenide), among which silicon is the most widely used and commercialized most successfully.
The semiconductor properties of some materials were discovered as early as around 1880, and the term semiconductor was first used in 1911.
The main properties of semiconductors that were systematically verified in the laboratory were not realized until late 1947.
It took nearly 70 years for semiconductors to be discovered and fully recognized, mainly because the fabrication of single crystal semiconductor materials was very difficult and difficult to verify under the technological level and technological conditions at that time.
In the 70 years since the second World war, technology has advanced by leaps and means, and crystal manufacturing technology has perfected itself.
The invention of semiconductor integrated circuits around 1960 greatly enhanced the application value of semiconductor materials.
Today, nearly 7 billion transistors can be made on tiny silicon wafers about 4 square centimeters square.
That means a microprocessor can be built on a small piece of silicon, and the information can be processed very quickly.
Semiconductors have become the core components of various electronic products.
We know that a circuit has a certain function because there are various changes of current in it.
The current is caused by electrons flowing between metal lines and electronic components.
In order to meet the requirements of mass production, the electrical properties of semiconductors must be predictable and stable, so strict requirements must be followed, including the purity of dopants and the quality of semiconductor lattice structures.
For a semiconductor device, the defect of the material lattice is usually the main factor affecting the performance of the device.
Visible, semiconductor material in the whole semiconductor industry is of great importance.
Broadly speaking, the materials industry of the semiconductor industry includes a wide range of industries and is generally classified as follows.
It can be divided into silicon and other materials according to their properties.
Silicon material, namely silicon single crystal material, is the most widely used basic material in semiconductor industry, mainly including silicon crystal for chip and silicon crystal for equipment.
The former is used to make silicon wafers or chips, while the latter is mainly used to make parts for etching electromechanical poles and other equipment.
According to the production process can be divided into chip manufacturing materials and packaging materials.
The former includes silicon wafer, photoresist, mask plate, photoresist auxiliary reagent, chemical, electronic gas, target material, polishing liquid and polishing pad, etc.
The latter includes frame, substrate, ceramic package, encapsulating resin, bonding wire, laminating material and so on.
These are just a few of the major categories in the semiconductor materials industry.
In fact, the semiconductor material industry is the most segmented sector in the semiconductor industry chain, with hundreds of fine molecular industries.
It is worth mentioning that the silicon crystal materials used in the equipment are often not recognized or even ignored and questioned because they are far away from the ordinary consumers.
In fact, however, it is very important in the semiconductor materials industry.
Without it, many important devices in the semiconductor industry would not work and chip manufacturing would not be possible.
The semiconductor material industry is located in the upstream of the semiconductor industry chain, which does not account for a large proportion in the whole industry chain, but in recent years there has been a gradual upward trend.
In addition, for a long time, the international owners of semiconductor materials should be in the hands of the top five players, with a high concentration of the industry, and dominated by Japan, the United States, South Korea, Germany and other countries with developed semiconductor industries.
In 2018, the world's top five silicon wafer suppliers had 94% of the global market share in the silicon wafer sector, where the cost of materials is the highest (over 30%).
Japan's Shin-Etsu Chemical is 28%, Japan's Sumitomo Mitsubishi 25%, Taiwan Globulin (whose main factories are in Japan and the United States) 17%, Germany's Silitronicco 15%, and South Korea's SK Hynix 9%.
Companies from mainland China did not make the list.
According to the China Electronic Equipment Industry Association, the domestic market for semiconductor materials in 2018 was 8.5 billion US dollars, with a localization rate of only 22 percent.
It can be seen that Our country is still very weak in this field and has a huge space for development.
However, in the upstream of the semiconductor industry chain, the development of semiconductor materials industry is very difficult, which mainly reflects three high characteristics:
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The technical threshold is high.
Semiconductor materials are characterized by high purity requirements and complex processes. Developed countries have built high technical barriers, and the technical threshold is far higher than other electronic and manufacturing related materials.
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Capital threshold is high.
In many semiconductor material subdivision fields, such as silicon wafer manufacturing industry, due to the complex and meticulous process, a wide variety of production equipment and high price, the construction requirements of production workshops are extremely strict, and the investment is huge.
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The market threshold is high.
On the one hand, due to the different use requirements of downstream manufacturers, there will be different parameter requirements for materials. Therefore, the semiconductor material industry conducts research and development and production according to orders.
On the other hand, in the material industry, the yield rate is very important, so the downstream production line needs to carry out batch testing during the product development process.
As a result, it often takes as long as two years for a product to be certified by a customer and receive a final order, requiring sufficient patience and financial support.
Although in recent years China's individual niche in the semiconductor industry breakthrough (e.g. jiangfeng electronic target material, anhui microelectronics grinding fluid, jinzhou viewing semiconductor etching machine parts with monocrystalline silicon material and so on, has reached the international first-class level and similar products in the world) have high market share, but the overall development level and scale is still very backward, and to realize localization of substitute semiconductor industry, has a long way to go.