Expert's Panel

A collection of timely and important topics posed to our panel of experts.

Back to Expert's Panel

    What are the current (2007) main drivers for semiconductor equipment and materials?

  1. 51% is driven by consumers, which is computers and logic chips. Industry gets about 10%, automobiles get about 4-5%. Our market drivers arenít changing because they are much more consumer oriented. In the United States and Europe the market demand will flow up and down with the Christmas season more than anything else. The biggest drivers for materials are molecules that havenít even been invented yet. Materials that are going to support the 32nm and 22nm production are key; things like photoresist, low K dielectrics, high K dielectrics, and the precursors that are going to drive them. There is still a demand for traditional materials. However, IDMs have pushed the prices so low there is beginning to be push back and producers are looking out to other markets which may cause a shortage and the search for replacements.
  2. Solar cell technology is now coming into the mainstream. Being that it uses a lot of the same process technology as silicon devices youíre going to see the equipment demand really start to grow. The requirements for lithography issues are pretty easy to accomplish with existing methodology. New defused arrays and concentrators are coming out. Smaller companies that were dealing with solar as a niche will become more visible and virtually all of the larger companies, like Applied, have projects going in this area.
  3. We are definitely in a maturing industry since the turn of the century. If you look at other industries that have matured, you see the push for cost reduction. Semiconductors can be manufactured just about anywhere in the world today and equipment suppliers that have the lowest costs will have an advantage.
  4. Referring back to the comment that 51% of the semiconductors are for the consumer market, we have to realize that consumers have an emotional equation. If the economy is not going well they are not going to go buy a new LCD TV or install solar panels. In the past the military made up a big percentage of the device purchases, and they were spending money whether the economy was up or down. Now, with consumers being the big component we are much more susceptible to economic conditions.