A thin wafer is a thin piece of semiconductor material used for integrated circuit manufacturing. One of the main factors supporting the growth of the thin wafer market is the rising demand for semiconductor devices in sectors, such as automotive, consumer electronics, and telecommunications. At a time when the configuration of electronic devices must be small, low-cost, but high performance, the role of thin/ultra-thin semiconductors cannot be disputed.
Over the coming years, thin wafers are set to make up about 50 percent of the total semiconductor market. Semiconductors are now available in ultra-thin versions with a thickness of approximately 40μm from the standard thickness of approximately 500 m. The thin wafer market consists of suppliers that satisfy the ever-increasing requirements of memory discs, consumer electronics, and wireless devices. To minimize the thickness of smartphone bundles, thin wafers provide support. Furthermore, thinner wafers effectively deploy the management of thermal and electronic devices, which is expected to have a positive market impact.
The proliferation of thin wafer users and the high rate of portable device adoption are the main factors that are expected to drive the growth of the market for thin wafers. Increased awareness is projected to increase market growth over the forecast period, coupled with the expansion of the semiconductor industry.
Producer of Tier 1 and Tier 2, with production plants scattered across many countries worldwide, is part of the thin wafer sector. Thin wafers developed by these firms are used by end-use sectors such as electronics, automotive, medical, and a few others. Covid-19 not only impacted the activities of players in the thin wafer sector, but it also affected businesses in the industries mentioned above. It is also expected that the demand for MEMS products from the automotive and consumer electronics industries will decline.
Consumers, such as premium smartphones, wearables, and smart home systems, have also decreased their spending on luxury goods. The characteristics of the product are taken into account as a second priority, and fundamental functionalities are preferred. The thin wafer market is expected to be adversely affected by all of these factors.
Demand for MEMS is growing as applications such as portable treatments, communication systems, and car sensor devices are increasingly being taken into account. The miniature nature of MEMS allows it to be applied in nearly all electronic devices, which make a substantial contribution to their adoption in a variety of applications. Not only do thin wafers contribute to mobile device miniaturization trends, but they also contribute to the thermal efficiency of these devices.
During this pandemic period, remote medical devices such as patient surveillance systems have seen increased demand from the world's healthcare professionals in the fight against the virus. A growing global consciousness of the situation in COVID-19 has also created an enormous demand for personal monitoring equipment.
Another key factor driving the demand for thin wafers is the reduction in the size of electronic devices and electrical components. To reduce the thickness of the devices produced, the growing number of smartphone users worldwide is increasing the demand for such wafer types significantly. The expansion of the global semi-conductive industry, along with increased technological awareness will be driven by the growth of the thin wafer market in the years that follow. The growing IC (integrated circuit) industry and the growing demand for mobile equipment will further increase the demand for thin wafers.
Performance is probably the greatest obstacle being faced by the companies during the deployment of thin wafers. For long wavelengths, the thin wafer has a low absorption capacity, particularly, if the thickness is less than 50 μm. The distance traveled by light to be fully absorbed by the wafer is long in the case of long wavelengths. The main motive behind the design of thin wafers is to ensure that all the advantages of thin wafers, such as low power consumption, good performance, and a smaller die area, are beneficial to chip manufacturers.
Second, under stress or cracking, ultra-thin wafers are both more volatile and prone to damage. The dies applied to thin wafers will split easily during the internal process, which can impede market growth over the next six years. However, with wafer support systems planned to overcome challenges within the next six years, these challenges can be tackled.
Owing to the improved performance provided by these wafers, the exponential use of 300 mm wafers in LED applications is driving the growth of the thin wafer market worldwide. Scaling savings have been very significant for LED manufacturers and these wafers have provided improvements in profitability. A substantial increase in demand for 300 mm wafers is also expected to generate a growing number of operating 300 mm wafer manufacturing facilities. It is becoming critical for leading LED manufacturers to achieve economies of scale and increase the profitability of these wafers. Besides, the increasing number of 300 mm wafer manufacturing plants in operation is another factor contributing to the growth of the industry.
The thin wafer industry was dominated by wafer dicing in 2019. The rising demand for high-speed dicing combined with superior breaking strength is attributable to the advancement. Besides, the need to configure smaller, higher efficiency, and lower-cost devices for use in appliances such as memory devices, logic devices, power devices, and sensors are expected to contribute to the growth of the demand for wafer dicing equipment during the forecast period.
The memory segment dominated by smartphone manufacturers accounted for the main market share in the thin wafer market. The state-of-the-art memory technology has been replaced by standard devices such as Dynamic Random-Access Memory (DRAM), Synchronous Dynamic Random-Access Memory (SDRAM), and Flash Memory (NAND). Also, for enhanced performance, storage devices need high-precision bonding and packaging. The need for thinner wafers to comfortably fit memory chips into various electronic consumer devices has been generated by this transition in the memory industry.
The LED segment is expected to lead the market in the forecast period, based on the application. This is due to the increasing applications of thin wafers in the LED as it helps to increase the profitability of manufacturers. A variety of electronic devices and their components are widely used in LEDs for the development of thin wafers. Owing to the high penetration of affordable cloud computing solutions, the increasing deployment of server and data center systems across different companies and industries is expected to drive demand for logical devices such as microprocessors and digital signal processors.
In addition, the growing adoption of connected IoT-enabled devices has led to an increase in the use of microprocessors. In these applications, thin wafers are increasingly used to enable efficient thermal management and performance optimization. Both of these factors contribute to the development of the thin wafer logic chip industry.
APAC led the thin wafer industry in 2019 based on geography. APAC's dominant position will result in the growing adoption of high-end consumer electronics, such as wearables and smart home appliances, in China and Japan. The region has emerged as a global focal point for major prospects for investment and business expansion. Moreover, the growing number of investments and the continuous expansion of businesses in Asian countries are opening new doors to the region's market growth. In 2019, Samsung Electronics, a leading South Korean chipmaker, invested USD 111 billion over the next ten years developing its Memory and Foundry businesses.
This growth in the NAND flash memory and production industries is imperative to increase the demand for thin wafers in APAC. Moreover, the global semiconductor market is expected to disclose significant developments in the APAC sector due to favorable economic conditions and growing demand for consumer electronics. All these variables put the demand for thin wafers from APAC on a positive growth path.
The outbreak of COVID-19 has endangered the semiconductor wafer industry's global supply chain. The semiconductor device supply chain is complex and relies on being coordinated with several suppliers from various locations. The absence of even one item can hold back the entire production line, resulting in backlogs of inventory and cash flow. If the semiconductor device's entire supply chain is operational and effective, however, its manufacturing is still under pressure and limited. The thin wafer market is expected to have a negative impact on the decline in demand from foundry suppliers and IDMs for thin wafers.
Key players in the global online hotel booking software market include GlobalWafers Co., Ltd, Shin-Etsu Chemical Co., My-Chip Production GmbH, EV Group, Siltronic AG, Polishing Corporation of America, Virginia Semiconductor Inc., ULVAC GmbH, Sil'tronix Silicon Technologies, Brewer Science, Inc., 3M Company, SK Siltron,among others.