Sapphire is basically aluminum oxide in its pure from which has no porosity or boundaries, and hence dense in nature. Low dislocation and high purity have led to adoption of sapphire as an ideal material to be used in wide range of electronic substrates. Thin sapphire wafers are used as an insulating substrate in high-frequency and high-power CMOS integrated circuits. These integrated circuits are known as silicon on sapphire (SOS) chip. These chips are primarily used for high-power radio-frequency (RF) applications which include satellite communication systems, cellular telephones, and others. In SOS chip both analog and digital circuitry integration takes place. Since, sapphire has higher conductivity for heat and lower for electricity; sapphire provides good insulation and even balances the generated heat in the circuit.
Owing to these advantages, sapphire has evolved as a versatile material that is used specifically in semiconductor industry, which is characterized by requirement for cost effective, time saving, and efficient operational solutions. Incorporation of sapphire technology for fabrication of components for use in end-use products across industries such as consumer electronics, aerospace and defense, power, and other sectors can help device manufacturers, achieve efficient performance. There is huge potential for sapphire technology in different devices and applications required across different end-use industries. Thus, demand for sapphire technology is directly influenced by trend across these industries. For instance, a Silicon-on-Sapphire chip, which is formed by depositing a very thin layer of silicon in a sapphire wafer at high temperature, has profound use in consumer electronics sector majorly for LED technology market. There are primarily two ways to make SOS wafer which include epitaxial SOS semiconductor technology and bonded SOS technology. .
Factors such as high cost effectiveness as compared to other substrate materials, increased demand for LED technology are expected to drive demand for sapphire technology in future. Moreover, improved manufacturing processes resulting in use of silicon on sapphire for wafer processing is further expected to fuel demand for sapphire technology.. n addition, manufactures are also keen on developing solutions using sapphire technology, which would result in less operational cost and maximize profits. This is due to the benefits of insulating substrate, which includes low power consumption, low parasitic capacitance resulting in increased speed, and better isolation, and high linearity as compared to bulk silicon. Furthermore, there are low entry barriers for players to invest in this market resulting is high degree of competition.
The sapphire technology market is segmented on the basis of various parameters which include technology, substrate wafer and orientation type, and by application. Sapphire technology comprises of sapphire substrate technology and process, different production methods, and other growth methods for sapphire. The sapphire technology process is further classified as slicing, die polishing, lapping, and chemical-mechanical planarization (CMP). Different production methods for the same include kyropoulos method, Heat Exchanger Method (HEM), Czochralski Crystal Pulling Method, and Edge-Defined Film-Fed Growth (EFG) Method, among others. The market is further classified on the basis of silicon substrate wafer and orientation type which includes different sapphire types such as Silicon Carbide on Sapphire, Gallium Nitride on Sapphire, Silicon on Sapphire (SOS), and others. Based on the wafer size, classification includes 12 inch, 24 inch, 36 inch, and others. Moreover, varied plane orientations such as a-plane, c-plane, r-plane, and others are used to define orientation of sapphire substrates. Sapphire technology market classified on the basis of devices comprises of power semiconductor market and opto-semiconductors. The power semiconductor segment includes market for power discrete devices such as diodes, switches, Radio frequency integrated circuit (RFIC), Monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC), and others. Sapphire technology has wide applications across consumer electronics, power, aerospace and defense, industrial, automotive, and others.
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The prominent players of this market include ACME Electronics Corporation, Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Monocrystal Inc., Kyocera Corporation, Rubicon Technology Inc., DK Aztec Co., Ltd., GT Advanced Technologies Inc., Sapphire Technology Co., Ltd., Namiki Precision Jewel Co., Ltd, Tera Xtal Technology Corporation, Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd. among others.