The third generation of semiconductors generally refers to semiconductor materials with a band gap greater than 2.2 eV, also known as wide band gap semiconductor materials. The development of the semiconductor industry has experienced three stages so far. The first generation of semiconductor materials is represented by silicon; the second generation of semiconductor materials, gallium arsenide, has also been widely used; and gallium nitride and silicon carbide, zinc oxide, aluminum oxide, diamond, etc. The third-generation semiconductor material represented by the wide band gap has significant performance advantages over the previous two generations.
If you are still unfamiliar with the third generation of semiconductor materials, you can look up and see the LED (light emitting diode) lights everywhere in your home. The invention of gallium nitride-based blue LED has enabled the realization of high-efficiency white LED lighting, which has caused another revolution in human lighting sources.
Of course, GaN-based blue LEDs are just the beginning. The third-generation semiconductors actually have a larger and broader market development space.
Because the third generation semiconductor has the characteristics of high breakdown electric field, high saturation electron speed, high thermal conductivity, high electron density, high mobility, etc., so in short-wave luminescence, laser, detection and other optoelectronic devices and high temperature, high pressure, high frequency and high power The field of electronic power devices has broad application prospects.
The specific application scenarios of the third generation semiconductors are endless. Among them, in the field of energy-saving power electronics, there are semiconductor lighting, smart grids, high-speed trains, etc.; in the field of information engineering, there are visible light communication, mass optical storage, high-speed computing, etc.; In the field, there are ultraviolet detectors, microwave devices, etc.; in civil commercial applications, there are wireless infrastructure (base stations), satellite communications, cable TV, and power electronics; in addition to new energy vehicles, consumer electronics and other fields.
Thanks to the advantages of performance and broad application scenarios, the third generation semiconductor is also known as the "core" of solid-state light sources, power electronics, microwave radio frequency devices, and the "new engine" of industries such as optoelectronics and microelectronics.
At present, all countries in the world are increasing their horsepower to lay out the third generation semiconductor field. In 2017, the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, the European Union and other countries and organizations launched at least 12 R&D programs and projects. Multi-party joint research and development of "official production, research, and research" is one of the important organizational methods.
Compared with developed countries, China's development of the third-generation semiconductor industry has been slow, but as the policy guidance effect gradually emerges, China's third-generation semiconductor industry is ushering in high-speed development. It is worth mentioning that China’s third-generation semiconductor industry has achieved substantial development in 2017. According to CASA preliminary statistics, the overall output value of China’s third-generation semiconductors in 2017 was approximately 657.8 billion (including lighting), an increase of 25.83 compared with 2016. %.
Although there are many third-generation semiconductor materials, from the current research on third-generation semiconductor materials and devices, the most mature and most promising prospects are mainly gallium nitride (GaN) and silicon carbide (SiC) semiconductor materials. Kinds of materials.
From the current point of view, the domestic development in the field of semiconductor lighting has obvious advantages. For example, the global LED chip leader Sanan Optoelectronics officially entered the compound semiconductor chip with the accumulation of technology and equipment in the field of LED chips. Among them, the research and development of third-generation semiconductor materials such as gallium nitride are the seven major investments of its 33 billion investment. One of the core projects. In addition to Sanan Optoelectronics, many domestic listed companies such as Yangjie Technology, National Technology, Hite High-tech, etc. have begun to lay out the third-generation semiconductor business.
At the same time, many third-generation semiconductor-related production lines deployed in China have been opened or put into production one after another. In the field of SiC, the technical commissioning of the 6-inch silicon carbide (SiC) industrialization base of CRRC Times Electric has been successfully completed; the 6-inch SiC pilot line of the Global Energy Internet Research Institute has entered the stage of installation and commissioning; the start of the installation of the century gleam SiC and GaN production lines; CLP The 6-inch SiC pilot line of Ke 55 was put into operation. In the field of GaN, Jiangsu Nenghua and InnoSec 8-inch Si-based GaN production lines have been launched one after another; Sanan Integration, Haiwei Huaxin, Tianjin Zhonghuan, Jiangsu Huagong, Dalian Core, Julicheng Semiconductor, etc. are all in existence. The order is advancing.
Industrial development has a long way to go
Dr. Zhu Shaoxin, director of the Supermolecular Research Office of the China Electronics and Information Industry Development Institute and the Institute of Integrated Circuits, believes that the current domestic third-generation semiconductor industry is mainly faced with the following three difficulties and challenges:
First is the international technical blockade. On August 1, 2018, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced a list of 44 new Chinese export control companies, restricting the export and transfer of U.S. technology to it. Among them, 13 and 55 of the China Electronics Division are the leading domestic compound semiconductor research institutions;
Second is the difficulty of market advancement. Under the circumstances permitted by the international political environment, domestic machine application companies will preferentially purchase products from the world's leading compound semiconductor suppliers to maintain the competitiveness of machine products in the global market. Domestic compound semiconductor companies are facing difficulties in both the industry and consumer markets;
The third is blind investment in the project. Cities with a late start and weak strength lack professional knowledge and development experience in the integrated circuit industry. Information is seriously asymmetric when attracting investment, and the market positioning and development prospects of compound semiconductors are not accurately judged. Especially in recent years, the so-called "technical talents" abroad have established the "temporary patchwork" technical team under the banner of "Complete Substitution of Silicon" for compound semiconductors, with the fluke of "empty gloves and white wolves". Cities, the local government of Fool.
For the future development direction of the industry, Dr. Zhu Shaozhen also put forward some views on himself. First of all, as far as market positioning is concerned, from the current stage of development of Chinese industry, compound semiconductors have greater market breakthrough opportunities in the basement and automotive industries. On the one hand, these markets are emerging application markets, and the market structure has not been consolidated, which is a development opportunity for Chinese companies. On the other hand, domestic research institutions have a certain amount of technology accumulation in the field of GaN and SiC devices used in this market, and the technology gap with leading companies is relatively small.
In addition, in the industrial model, Dr. Zhu Shaojun suggested to strive to cultivate IDM companies with market competitiveness. For industries such as 5G communication base stations, new energy vehicles, and industrial power supplies, it is recommended to cultivate IDM's leading companies in the field of GaN and SiC. In consumer markets such as smartphones, it is recommended to promote in-depth cooperation between domestic design companies and manufacturing companies to explore the development model of virtual IDM.