For an industry with an estimated revenue potential of $22 billion by 2022, and a CAGR of 14% throughout 2016–2022, the slightest innovation in current modules holds considerable profit potential. The thin film semiconductor market has evolved from the previous generation of semiconductor electronics in the best interests of mother nature. Having said this, it becomes equally important to relate the markers. It is unnecessary to revisit the importance of semiconductor performance in the control and functional application of a complex system. From reduction in fuel consumption in automobiles to providing custom data support to inbuilt navigation memory in the same, the semiconductor electronic components have covered it all.
Technological superiority over conventional silicone chips motivated the field experts to explore immeasurable opportunities with the thin film semiconductors. The next-generation information technology requirements are inclusive of the flexible memory technologies for ultra-speed processing and nanoelectronics that can be accommodated in teemed systems. The convergence of development routes in the field of material and applied science along with those in power electronics has put forward novice possibilities for several vertical industries. On the basis of manufacturing technology, the market structure can be studied under two deposition techniques—chemical vapor deposition and physical vapor deposition (PVD).
The stark difference in process stages lead to different virtues for both the films. In accordance to the criterion of the working environment for the thin film semiconductor, any one deposition technique is adopted out of the two. CVD based thin film semiconductors are particularly used in photovoltaic industry, electronic circuits, and communication equipment among others while PVD based thin film semiconductors are majorly used in cutting tools and in microelectronic circuits for protection.
According to the latest findings of a research firm, the thin film semiconductor deposition market is led by the CVD technology in terms of net annual revenue.
The chemical process involves the mixing of a source material with volatile precursor that helps deposit a thin film of the artificial semiconductor compound on the substrate. The gaseous film is formed within a temperature range from 450°C to 1050°C. Multiple attributions are accountable for the popularity of this technology of physical deposition techniques. The most impactful of these are the lower cost and energy factors associated with this process. Even in terms of the administration of the process, minimal efforts are to be put in by the professional to fabricate these films. The solid films generated by this method have higher purity and performance index.
The CVD technique has been widely employed to complement the modern dynamic random access memory (DRAM) technology, solar or photovoltaic modules, advanced sensors in smart devices, organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display, and active matrix OLED (AMOLED) displays. The vertical industries, which have high expectations from the progress of this segment include IT & telecom, consumer & commercial electronics, energy & power, automotive, aerospace & defense, healthcare, and industrial production & manufacturing. The PVD deposition, on the other hand is used for producing thin film semiconductors that are used to cut tools and protect microelectronic circuits.
With per capita energy consumption listed on the growth metrics for a region, nations have been trying to improve their performance accordingly. In regard to the intended increase in energy production through economically viable and ecologically sustainable sources, solar energy has gained much attention. Multiple research groups have dedicated their work to the deployment of the chemical deposition technology to develop optimum quality photosensitive films for energy conversion. The thin film photovoltaic cells so obtained can be produced at a comparatively lower cost owing to the usage of mixed source material, which if profitable for the manufacturer in the long run.
The technique itself ensures needful usage of materials and ensure minimal wastage. In addition, the absence of any complicated production procedure and any external electrical force minimizes the total energy required during the process of production. This makes it feasible for small-scale enterprises to adopt the technology in their practices and come forward with better products. First Solar, a C solar energy solution provider, has set the perfect example for new entrants in the solar energy segments on how to channelize their resources to fix their market position. Similar companies can benefit from integration of the innovative thin films and claim their edge over their existing competitors.
With regard to the source compounds, Cadmium telluride (CdTe) has so far led the market revenue figures, yet is doomed to suffer a decline in future due to safety considerations over poisonous properties of Cadmium. At the same time, CiGs will experience greater growth in overall market shares in terms of volume. The quest for ultra-efficient compounds has revived the attention of leading corporate players in the thin film semiconductor market. To exploit the prevailing opportunities, they have restructured their investment agenda, channelizing a huge portion of it in the towards research and development activities. We await to witness the consequentially transformed scenario in near future.
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