Global Bulk & Thin-Film Piezo Devices Market to Be Worth $48.5 Billion by 2024

According to a new report by Yole Développement (Yole), the global piezoelectric market for sensors, actuators, and transducers is expected to be worth USD $48.5 billion by 2024. The market will grow at a CAGR of 12.6% from 2018 to 2024. According to Yole, thin-film piezo-based devices are driving the market’s growth, though market share is still in favor of bulk-based devices, which remains a strong technology in the piezo market.

In both, bulk and thin-film device markets, RF filters lead with SAW and BAW, respectively. Broadcom and Qorvo are the major thin-film players in the RF filters arena. And 5G with an increasing number of frequencies is expected to strongly boost the market. The recent fundraising efforts of consumer players like Amazon in thin-film-based companies to support the development of piezo microspeakers and MEMS piezo microphones confirm mainstream interest in technologies. Such technologies are indeed able to work at ultra-low powers.

Bulk piezo devices offer high actuation performance that is expected in a number of applications, from inkjet print-heads to linear motors achieving very precise movements. In this context, Yole and System Plus Consulting’s analysts have released two dedicated reports: Piezoelectric Devices: From Bulk to Thin-film – Market & Technology and Piezoelectric Material from Bulk to Thin Film – Comparison. The first report forecasts the growth of bulk and thin-film piezo devices over the next five years, illustrating the trends and dynamics of these two methods, with a market focus on thin-film-based devices, by application. The second report provides insights and technology data for a large range of functions based on piezoelectric material characteristics. Based on these two reports, Yole Développement and System Plus Consulting, members of Yole Group of Companies, have delivered a comprehensive vision of piezoelectric industry.

According to Sylvain Hallereau from System Plus Consulting, piezoelectric materials allow interactions between both worlds, electronic and mechanic. Actuator and sensor functions can be so directly integrated with electronic die. Today piezoelectric materials are so more and more used in modules.

Specific to thin-film techniques, several MEMS foundries have internalized a thin-film piezo process in their fab. AlN requires extensive knowledge for piezo layer deposition, while PZT is an exotic material for integration in a semiconductor fab. In terms of deposition, there are two technologies competing: Sol-Gel and PVD (sputtering or pulsed laser deposition - PLD). Sol-Gel offers better intrinsic film properties, with good uniformity and higher breakdown voltages. But when considering high volume production, throughput becomes a major consideration and this is where Sol-Gel exhibits limitations.

Most MEMS IDMs and foundries have already made their process choices. Fujifilm Dimatix and Robert Bosch have chosen sputtering, while Epson and Rohm Semiconductor will pursue Sol-Gel techniques. Yole’s analysts had the opportunity to talk to Robert Bosch and conducted a dedicated interview of Dr. Udo-Martin Gómez, Senior Vice President at Robert Bosch. When his company started the pre-development phase of piezoelectric MEMS, they did a thorough analysis of the application needs and compared this with the known deposition technologies, like Sol-Gel, PLD, Sputtering and others. In the end they decided on sputtering. According to Udo-Martin, sputtering tools are well known in semiconductor fabs. The supply chain regarding sputter targets and other media is well established. This results in process and material properties which are under all circumstances controllable and reproducible even in high volume.

Equipment manufacturers play an important role in developing the right process: for example, SolMAteS, a Netherlands-based equipment manufacturer, recently announced that its PLD technology has entered the next 5G base-station and receiver device market through a production site located in the USA.

The full reports can be read/download below: