April - 2016 - issue > In My Opinion

Foundation of A Connected World-Silicon Adding Value

Dr.Srikanth Kommu
SVP & CTO-SunEdison Semiconductor (SSL)
Friday, April 1, 2016
Dr.Srikanth Kommu
In the past three decades, we have experienced key technological waves driving market trends in the semiconductor and electronics industry. Personal computers in the late 80s, cell phones in the late90s, and smart phones and tablets in the late 2000sare examples of key technological innovations. The innovative nature of this industry is responsible for the creation of the current highly connected world, with technological innovation and growth opportunities as bright as ever. Some of the key market segments driving the business today are:

Internet of Things (IoT): IoT involves more things being connected and interacting through the Internet. IoT requires advanced semiconductors including MEMS (Micro Electro Mechanical Systems) sensors, RF (Radio Frequency) connectivity, low power micro controllers, cloud storage and computing, leading to attractive business growth opportunities. Specifically, in the sensors market, there is a need ranging from large area MEMS based accelerators and gyroscopes to miniaturized, low power wearable health and lifestyle monitoring semiconductor devices.

Smartphones and Tablets: The smartphone and tablet market continues to drive the need for better RF semiconductor devices to support the increasing number of communication bands and standards. This market segment is also further driving the need for smaller, higher performance and power efficient semiconductor chips.

Medical Imaging and Instrumentation: This market segment is driving the need for advanced semiconductors for enhancing the imaging capabilities of medical instruments such a CT (Computed Tomography) scanners and ultrasound systems, as well as for creating smaller, light-weight medical tools such as disposable diagnostic cameras and endoscopic tools. To develop cutting edge imaging products for this industry, there is a need for advanced CMOS (Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor) image sensors, which in turn is leading to advancements in technologies such as BSI (Back Side Illumination) and 3D stacking.

Power and Automotive: In this segment, the demand and need for power semiconductor devices is continually evolving. The applications range from higher power transportation and grid level energy; to medium power electric vehicles, motor drives and solar inverters; to lower power automotive infotainment and laptop computer adapters. One of the key focus areas driving technological innovation in device design and materials selection for power switching semiconductor devices is saving electrical power through the reduction of conduction and switching losses.

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