Quartz crucible is a bowl shaped vessel or receptacle made from high purity quartz glass through the arc fusion method. Quartz crucible can withstand high temperature; therefore, it is used in high heat processes for melting or calcining metals, glass, and pigments. Quartz crucible offers excellent thermal insulation; thus, it is widely employed in the semiconductor and solar industries. The standard size of quartz crucible varies between 10 inches and 36 inches.
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Being the prime source of silica, quartz is used in various applications such as manufacture of glass, ceramics, and refractory materials. The semiconductor industry has enacted stringent regulations regarding the purity of quartz. Therefore, there is need of high purity quartz ware such as quartz crucible in single crystal silicon growth via the Czochralski process for the handling and processing of wafers. VLSI (very large scale integrated) and semiconductor device circuits require high-purity single crystal semiconductors due to the difficulty faced in controlling amorphous or poly-crystal properties. Silicon wafers obtained from highly pure single crystal silicon ingots are free from crystalline defects. Thus, rise in demand for high purity quartz in advanced high-tech semiconductor applications is likely to boost the demand for quartz crucibles in the next few years.
Modern communication technologies such as microprocessors and mobile phones are based on monocrystalline semiconductors made from silicon. Thus, rise in demand for smartphones, tablets, and flash memory cards coupled with the increase in application in consumer electronics has propelled the demand for single crystal silicon ingots. This, in turn, has accelerated the development of new technologies in silicon wafers. Furthermore, increase in demand for new silicon material to replace polycrystalline silicon due to the presence of impurity is augmenting the demand for quartz crucible for providing dislocation-free and low impurity single crystal silicon ingot.
Quartz crucibles cannot be reused due to the risk of impurities. Furthermore, quartz crucibles get attacked by molten silicon during the solidification process of silicon ingot. Therefore, using it again for single crystal growth may affect the ingot yield. Quartz and silicon possess different thermal expansion coefficient. Therefore, reusing it may result in significant mechanical stress. This would further cause crystalline defects and lead to crucible cracking. Hence, reusability of quartz crucible is one of the major challenges for manufacturers. This is estimated to restrain the growth of quartz crucibles in the semiconductor market.
The quartz crucible market can be segmented based on product type, application, and process. In terms of product type, the market can be divided into 18 inch, 20 inch, 22 inch, 24 inch, and others. Based on application, the quartz crucible market can be segregated into photovoltaic cell, electronic semiconductor, solar industry, and others. Quartz crucible is the preferred choice in semiconductor and solar industries due to its heat resistance property. Quartz crucibles are used in the production of single crystal silicon ingots through the CZ method. Single crystal silicon ingots are further processed into silicon wafers for the semiconductor market. Single crystal silicon ingots are widely used in integrated circuits for the manufacture of microchips and low power devices. The outside diameter of single crystal ingot produced through the CZ method varies between 150mm and 450mm, while the length ranges from 1m to 2m.
In terms of process, the quartz crucible market can be bifurcated into gel-casting process and Czochralski process. These methods are deployed to generate quartzes of high purity. The Czochralski process can be used to manufacture silicon crystals fused with quartz.
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China is a rapidly expanding market for 200mm silicon wafers. However, rising demand for 300-400mm silicon wafer, process improvement, productivity, and yield is expected to boost the demand for large diameter quartz crucibles during the forecast period. 300mm silicon wafer has high surface area compared to the 200m wafer. Therefore, the manufacturing cost of large silicon substrates is approximately 30% less than that of 200mm wafer. Low labor cost coupled with comparatively low land & utilities cost in China and need for large diameter wafers such as 300-400mm have led to wide diversity in the production of technologies for single crystal silicon ingot and wafer fabrication. Thus, need for high capacity of large diameter wafers and cost saving operations is anticipated to propel the quartz crucible market.
Key players operating in the global quartz crucible market include Lianyungang Sunlight, Solar Cera Co., Ltd., Saint-Gobain, Ferrotec Solutions, Jinglong, Huaer, Lianyungang Sunlight, Ningbo Boost, Quartz Scientific, Inc., The Quartz Corp, Advalue Tech, Vesuvius, Huaer, and Zhonghuan