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New markets drive semiconductor growth

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New analysis from Frost & Sullivan reveals that the worldwide discrete power semiconductor market earned revenues of $10,49-billion in 2005 and estimates this to reach $14,42-billion in 2009. 

“The growth of electronic content in automobiles and the tremendous rise of communication and electronic gadgets have a positive impact on the sales of discrete power semiconductors,” says Frost & Sullivan senior research analyst Bonnie Varghese. “The industry has witnessed a complete makeover and this will likely continue over the next few years.”
When combined, the applications used in consumer electronics, communication technology, and automobiles contribute more than half of the discrete power revenues.
Despite the growth of the end-user markets, thyristors, rectifiers, and bipolar transistors lack technological innovation. Due to an absence of technological advancements, the products remain undifferentiated and as such, manufacturers have begun abandoning these products.
Additionally, manufacturers have lowered prices to increase sales volumes and maintain revenues, which often results in negative growth or zero profits. Only a few industries invest in the R&D of rectifiers, and even this does not promise any enhanced applications in the near future.
“General-purpose rectifiers face a sharp decline, whereas ultra-fast and Schottky rectifiers will likely achieve growth,” explains Varghese. “Despite a move toward rectifier function integration with other power semiconductors, this trend appears speculative as some end users claim integration has a negative impact on the efficiency of discretes.”
Continuous improvements in the manufacturing process and greater efficiency have produced high-performance MOSFETs and IGBTs. Application and design engineers continuously improve the performance features of these devices by reducing drain-source resistance and offering low conduction losses, high power rating, faster switching speeds, low switching losses, and smaller packaging sizes.