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🚗 | Global semiconductor shortage, why is it happening now — what is the cause and the way to solve it?

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Global semiconductor shortage, why is it happening now — what is the cause and the path to a solution?

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Semiconductor elements are indispensable not only for cars, but also for everyday home appliances and electronic terminals, as well as for information and communication functions such as smartphones, and for devices that use electricity by adjusting the amount of electricity, such as recording and viewing photos and videos.

Recently, I often hear about "semiconductor shortage" in the news.Affects many industries, and production is curtailed in the automobile industry ... → Continue reading


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Electronic terminal

Semiconductor element

Semiconductor element(Hando Taisoshi,British: semiconductor device)semiconductorIt is a component of an electric circuit called an element, which is made by utilizing the electrical characteristics of.

RectificationHave a functiondiode,amplificationHave a functionTransistor, Has a switching functionThyristorIs the basic type.

In addition, the logic circuits of transistors are integrated to realize advanced computing functions.Integrated circuit(IC / LSI), integrated photoelectric conversion function using CCD / CMOSSolid-state image sensorThere are application examples such as.

Computer,Mobile phoneEtc.ElectronicsIt plays a central role in.Furthermore, in the mechanical field as well, with the sophistication of control functionsAutomobileIt is also incorporated in various industrial equipment.

Semiconductor demand from global electronics manufacturers was $ 2018 billion in 4,766[1].

Rough flow of semiconductor element (integrated circuit) manufacturing
Clean room.jpgClean room Since electronic devices using semiconductors are vulnerable to dust, work is performed in such a clean environment.
Monokristalines Silizium für die Waferherstellung.jpgSilicon ingotSlice (the long cylinder on the left) andWaferMake (thin disk below).
Silicon wafer with mirror finish.jpg
Wafer on which the circuit has been mounted.It looks like a grid because the same circuits (dies) are lined up.thisDiamond cutterCut with.
A die carved from a wafer.You can see a complicated circuit.
Final state.

This is an example of an unmolded chip.A die cut from the wafer is mounted in the center.

After that, it will be installed inside various electronic devices such as smartphones and televisions.


Before the spread of semiconductor devices, as an active element in electric circuitsElectron tube(Vacuum tubeEtc.) was used.However, semiconductor devices have the following features, and have replaced electron tubes except for specific applications and regions.

  • It is a solid-state element and does not require a mechanism for securing a vacuum space and emitting thermoelectrons unlike a vacuum tube.
  • It can be miniaturized and integrated.Low power consumption.
  • Assembling work can be avoided in the manufacturing process, and it is suitable for mass production and productivity improvement.
  • Because there is no mechanical mechanism vibration,AccelerationIt is strong against the mechanical conditions of the above, and is advantageous from the viewpoint of extending the service life including low temperature operation and ensuring reliability.

A method has been developed to compensate for the weaknesses that were initially considered to be disadvantageous compared to vacuum tubes.

  • A compensation circuit is required because the characteristics change greatly with temperature. → Introducing integrated circuits including compensation circuits.
  • Sensitive to electrical stress (overload, overvoltage, overcurrent, etc.). →Circuit designCombined use with the above ideas and various protection circuits.

Material and its properties

As of 2018, it is a single elementsilicon, As a compound semiconductorGallium arsenide (GaAs),Gallium nitride (GaN),Silicon carbide (SiC) etc. are often used.

semiconductorMaterial conductivity is usually majority carrier (for N-type semiconductors)Electronic, For P-type semiconductorsHole) Is expressed by the movement.The abundance density of multiple carriers is in the crystal structureFree electronIt depends on the impurities that cause the excess and deficiency of.However,TransistorIn many semiconductor devices, holes are required for minority carrier N-type semiconductors and electrons are required for P-type semiconductors in order to operate.

Examples of semiconductor devices

For semiconductor devicesTransistor,diode(rectifier),Light emitting diode (LED) etc.These single semiconductor elements are produced and used as individual parts called "discrete semiconductors" (individual semiconductors), but a large number of semiconductor elements were created at once.Integrated circuit (IC, LSI) occupies a larger position in terms of distribution volume and industrial scale.In an integrated circuit, in addition to active elements such as transistors and diodes, elements such as resistors and capacitors are also constructed as semiconductor elements.

In power electronics, for power equipmentPower semiconductor deviceCan handle high voltage and high current.

2-terminal element

Two-terminal elements are usually called "diodes".

3-terminal element

A device that can be arbitrarily switched by an external signal that sets the on and off states of the element.Self-extinguishing elementThat.

Thyristor (SCR)


Classification by degree of accumulation

  • Individual semiconductor:Transistor,diodeな ど
  • Integrated circuit(I C)
    • Small Integrated Circuits (SSI): <100 elements / chip
    • Medium Scale Integrated Circuits (MSI): 100-1,000 elements / chip
    • Large Scale Integrated Circuits (LSI): 1,000-100,000 Elements / Chip
    • Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI):> 100,000 elements / chip

Classification by board configuration

Classification by structure

  • bipolarType (npn structure, pnp structure)
  • MOSType (nMOS structure, pMOS structure,CMOSConstruction
  • BiCMOSStructure (Mixed loading of bipolar and CMOS)

Classification by function

Classification by development form

  • Standard (general purpose) devices: memory, MPU, general purpose logic, etc.
  • Custom device:ASIC(Full custom specification)
  • Semi-custom device:Gate array,PLA, Cell-based IC, etc.

Classification by production form

  • High-mix low-volume production device: ASIC,Custom IC,Logic IC
  • Low-mix high-volume production device: memory, MPU, etc.
  • Contract production method device:Foundry

Structural history

Point contact type

This is the earliest type.germaniumA needle is pierced into the surface of a semiconductor such as a semiconductor to make each terminal. In 1945diodeHowever, the transistor was developed in 1948.Point-contact diodes are widely used as detection diodes because of their small inter-terminal capacitance and good high-frequency characteristics, and are still produced for specific purposes today.On the other hand, the point-contact transistor was the appearance at the time of the invention of the transistor, and was soon replaced by the junction transistor due to the difficulty of keeping the distance between the emitter terminal and the collector terminal small and the instability of operation. ..As a general rule, all semiconductors other than this method are classified into a bonded structure.

Crystal growth form

A single crystal of a pure semiconductor is placed in a molten semiconductor and slowly pulled up to grow into a rod shape.

Rate grone type
It is pulled from a solution containing a small amount of both donor and acceptor impurities.If the speed of pulling up is increased, the P-type semiconductor grows, and if it is slowed down, the N-type semiconductor grows.Since the base region becomes thick, it is difficult to improve the high frequency characteristics.
Grown diffusion type
When the impurities added to the molten semiconductor are changed in the process of pulling up, a P-type or N-type semiconductor grows depending on the location of the crystal.This creates a PN structure for diodes and a PNP (or NPN) structure for transistors.

Alloy joint type (alloy type)

This is a manufacturing method that was common during the heyday of germanium transistors.A thin N-type single crystal of germanium is sandwiched between metal particles such as indium as an acceptor from both sides and heat-bonded, and a PNP structure is formed by the acceptor diffused from the alloy part. (There was also an NPN type, but it seems that it was not used in Si transistors.)

  • Drift transistor
  • Surface barrier type
  • Micro alloy type
  • Microalloy diffusion type

Mesa shape

It has a plateau-like cross section and allows current to flow in the thickness direction. A PN structure is formed for a PN junction diode, a PNP / NPN for a bipolar transistor, and a PNPN structure for a thyristor.

In the 2000s, for high powerPower deviceUsed only for.

Planar type

Terminal electrodes are formed on the same plane.It has the features that the current path can be shortened and the high frequency characteristics are good.

In addition, since many elements can be arranged side by side by microfabrication and manufactured by applying photographic technology, there is little variation and it is suitable for mass production.Taking advantage of this feature, monolithicIntegrated circuitWas invented.

Classification by process

Diffusion junction type
For semiconductor substrates拡 散,Ion implantationImpurities are included in the product.
Epitaxial type
A thin high-resistance crystal layer is formed on the surface of a semiconductor substrate having a low resistance value.
SOI (silicon on insulator)
InsulatorabovesiliconThis is a technique for forming a planar semiconductor device.Since the thin film on the insulator is used, the leakage current from the lower part of the substrate is small, and the radiation resistance performance is improved.systemLiquid crystal display-Used for manufacturing CMOS-ICs, high withstand voltage MOS-ICs, and radiation resistant elements that have low leakage current and can operate at high speed.The insulator is artificially madesapphireIs sometimes used (silicon on sapphire: SOS).High thermal conductivity for insulatorsdiamondHigh output for elements using a substrateLight emitting diodeIt is common as of 2015, especially when it gets very hot.Semiconductor laserHas high heat resistanceNitride semiconductorThe mainstream is manufactured with a pair of diamond substrate and diamond substrate.[Source required]

Major semiconductor manufacturers


Hitachi, Ltd.とMitsubishi ElectricWas established by the merger of the semiconductor divisions ofRenesas TechnologyToNEC ElectronicsWas further merged and established.

South Korea


米 国


PhillipsWas born as a spin-off of the semiconductor division of
SiemensWas born as a spin-off of the semiconductor division of
Infineon Technologies' semiconductor memory division was spun off

Major fabless semiconductor vendors

Fabless refers to a company that develops and designs without having a manufacturing department in-house and outsources manufacturing to another company.Detail isFablessSee.

米 国


Semiconductor manufacturers and vendors that once existed

IntelAcquired byFPGABecame a department
Renesas ElectronicsAcquired by
Avago TechnologyAcquired by
Merged with NXP Semiconductors
Acquired by Texas Instruments


[How to use footnotes]


  • Kazuo Maeda, 2016, "Immediate force in the field, the first semiconductor process", Gijutsu-Hyoronsha ISBN 978-4-7741-4749-9

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