The United States has a leading position in the semiconductor industry, but this position has been eroding, especially with respect to domestic manufacturing and advanced packaging, according to a report from the US Department of Energy.
Globally, the semiconductor market was valued at $553 billion in 2021, up from $440 billion in 2020, an increase of more than 25%, according to World Semiconductor Trade Statistics.
The issues must be addressed if the United States is to maintain and expand its leadership in semiconductors.
Additionally, the explosive growth in semiconductor use that is expected due to deep decarbonization and other uses, such as artificial intelligence, provides opportunities and risks.
For the Department of Energy, an important opportunity is to increase the US lead in HV power electronics through investment in the development and deployment of thick SiC epi-wafer and DBC technology.
The use of co-design, or the simultaneous design of hardware and software, is critical to developing energy-efficient semiconductors.
To ensure that energy efficiency is an integral part of co-design in the future, a strong signal, such as the proposed biennial goal of doubling energy efficiency, will help optimize this critical parameter along with other performance measures.
In addition to existing policies that address many of the critical vulnerabilities and challenges within the US semiconductor supply chain, five key energy sector concerns require new policy proposals that focus on the following areas:
- The competitiveness of the US power electronics sector.
- The need for specific energy efficiency targets for semiconductor performance for RDD&CA programs.
- The importance of developing robust and energy efficient domestic advanced packaging capabilities.
- The critical need for domestic manpower in the semiconductor industry, especially in the WBG’s power electronics technologies.
- The environmental impacts of semiconductor manufacturing. Meeting the challenge of skyrocketing demand for conventional and wide bandgap power electronics will require increased manufacturing and use of both types of semiconductors.
A prerequisite for meeting this challenge is the development of a national workforce skilled in both conventional semiconductors and WBG power electronics.
Furthermore, ensuring that semiconductors are developed to operate as energy efficiently as possible is a critical component of any decarbonization strategy.
Finally, the known environmental impacts of semiconductor production must be addressed.
In 2020, the largest semiconductor companies reported the following revenue: Intel, $77.87 billion; Samsung, 52.2 billion; TSMC, 45.5 billion; SK Hynix, 25.27 billion, and Broadcom Corporation, 23.89 billion.,