The semiconductor industry is working relentlessly to increase the efficiency and reliability of its products while improving manufacturing processes. In this quest for innovation and progress, Comptek’s proprietary technology, Kontrox™, emerges as the dawn of a new era in compound semiconductors. According to data, this technology can offer performance improvements of up to 300%, providing a significant reduction in manufacturing costs for customers in the optoelectronics market.
Comptek’s solution, Kontrox™ is a distinct approach to compound semiconductors, protected by an extensive patent portfolio, that optimises both performance and manufacturing costs. Advances in manufacturing efficiency, validated by empirical evidence, significantly reduce chip size and associated production costs. This, in turn, contributes to overall sustainability by reducing the waste of natural resources and using fewer key materials to achieve equivalent results.
Compound semiconductor devices, integral to the operation of wireless communications, smart mobility, VR/AR, electric vehicles and displays, are experiencing a steady increase in demand. Increasing technical requirements for these devices add complexity and challenges to manufacturing processes.
According to Moore’s law, in fact, the number of transistors in semiconductors doubles every two years. These continuous efforts to maintain this trend of exponential technological development and generate ‘more Moore’s’ have been the main driving force behind the growth of the microelectronics industry and the semiconductor market in recent years. The logic of Moore’s law has led to a sharp increase in the cost of designing chips to make them more powerful and efficient. In addition, the cost of semiconductor fabs has increased dramatically with each new generation of chips. This has led, since the early 1990s, to an increasing specialisation of players. While some companies continue to design, produce and market chips in-house (integrated device manufacturers such as Intel or Samsung), others have specialised in R&D-intensive design activities (non-factory companies such as Nvidia or Qualcomm) and subcontract production to foundries (the largest of which is TSMC), before marketing the chips.
Kontrox™ technology shows an aptitude for handling these complexities efficiently, making it an invaluable asset in the future of semiconductor technologies, known as More-than-Moore devices.
The global compound semiconductor market, valued at $89.9bn in 2019, is set to grow to $212.9bn by 2027, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.1% from 2020 to 2027.
Comptek’s technology addresses this growing market by helping various segments of the semiconductor value chain, including chip, equipment and substrate manufacturers.
Chip manufacturers, which include integrated device manufacturers (IDMs) and foundries, benefit immensely from Kontrox™. IDMs such as OSRAM, Nichia and Sony can substantially reduce their chip costs and potentially increase their gross margins. Comptek’s improved chip performance gives them a competitive advantage in the market.
So-called ‘foundries’, true third-party semiconductor forges such as Taiwan Semiconductors, Smart Photonics, and UMS Foundry, can leverage Kontrox™ to gain a competitive advantage over rivals by providing their customers with higher levels of chip performance. Improved production yields would naturally reduce manufacturing costs, increasing their gross margins.
Equipment manufacturers are the main players in Comptek’s business. Since Comptek does not design or manufacture equipment independently, partnerships and contract manufacturing agreements with major equipment manufacturers are critical. A successful combination of Kontrox™ with existing thin-film deposition techniques, such as ALD, is a clear differentiator for equipment manufacturers. Companies such as ASM International, Beneq, Picosun, and Veecco can leverage Kontrox™ to improve the quality of their existing passivation solutions. Partnering with thin-film deposition equipment manufacturers allows Comptek to quickly enter the market and facilitates the application of Kontrox™ in chip manufacturers’ production facilities.
Substrate manufacturers, another critical segment, can benefit from Kontrox™ by improving the surface quality of their products. In particular, for InP substrates, Kontrox™ emerges as a promising solution, given the lack of maturity of the current technology.
The increase in demand for optoelectronics, driven by the growing adoption of LED/µLEDs, biometric security in mobile devices, VR/AR, autonomous and electric vehicles, and the rise of high-speed Ethernet, represents another substantial opportunity for Comptek’s technology.
The total addressable market (TAM) based on Kontrox™ applications is estimated at $51bn in 2020 and is expected to reach $95.5bn by 2027. In this area, Comptek’s available for service (SAM) market, focused specifically on µLEDs, lasers and IR detectors, is expected to reach $925.5 million by 2025. Their available-for-support (SOM) market is expected to be worth EUR 250 million by 2026.
Drivers and limits
While Comptek’s market growth is supported by several drivers embedded in megatrends, it also has potential limitations. The lack of maturity of the target markets could limit its growth and the ongoing material crisis could slow down market expansion.
In conclusion, Comptek’s proprietary Kontrox™ technology could help shape the future of the compound semiconductor market. With its many advantages, it stands as a pioneer in the industry, offering sustainable solutions that not only benefit the industry, but also contribute significantly to global health and environmental sustainability.
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