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AI Drives New Demand for Materials
Table of Contents

Cooling materials – increased computing power, fluorinated liquid has great potential

The data center is the underlying computing power infrastructure of AI

Data Center
Data Center

As the underlying computing power infrastructure of artificial intelligence, 5G, cloud computing, and industrial Internet, the value of data centers has been greatly highlighted. A data center (DC for short) is a building site that provides an operating environment for centralized electronic information equipment, including a computer room, an auxiliary area, a support area, and an administrative management area.

Infrastructure is the cornerstone of the data center

Data center infrastructure is generally composed of a power supply and distribution system, an uninterruptible power supply system, a terminal power distribution system, a power auxiliary system and air conditioning system. According to the needs of the data center, the infrastructure needs to be designed and installed on different floors and parts of the data center to provide different functional guarantees for the servers.

The optical module is a small and precise IT equipment in the data center

Optical modules are connectors and translators that realize the mutual conversion of optical signals and electrical signals, and are located in the middle reaches of the industrial chain of the optical communication industry. The upstream includes chips, optical devices, etc., and the downstream includes the two major application areas of the telecom and data communication markets. End customers include operators such as China Mobile, as well as cloud computing and Internet data center manufacturers.

5G and data center dual engine drive. With the advancement of 5G construction and the acceleration of data center construction, the prosperity of optical modules has improved, and the global optical module market is expected to maintain a high growth trend.

Semiconductor materials – AI chips promote the development of semiconductor materials

The demand for AI chips will continue to increase

The AI chip is an artificial intelligence chip, also known as an AI accelerator or a computing card. It is a module dedicated to processing a large number of computing tasks in artificial intelligence applications, and other non-computing tasks are still handled by the CPU. 

AI chips
AI chips

From the perspective of technical architecture, Al chips are mainly divided into three categories: GPU (Graphics Processing Unit), FPGA (Field Programmable Logic Gate Array), and ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit). Among them, GPU is a relatively mature general-purpose artificial intelligence chip, and FPGA and ASIC are semi-custom and full-custom chips for the characteristics of artificial intelligence requirements. Under the wave of AI, artificial intelligence industries such as cloud computing, smart cars, and smart robots are developing rapidly. The market demand for AI chips is increasing, and the market size of AI chips will continue to grow.

The semiconductor industry chain can be roughly divided into three main links: upstream links such as equipment, materials, and design, midstream wafer manufacturing, and downstream packaging and testing. Semiconductor materials are a very important link in the upstream link of the industrial chain, and play a key role in the production and manufacturing of chips. According to the semiconductor chip manufacturing process, semiconductor materials can generally be divided into three major materials: substrate, manufacturing, and packaging.

Semiconductor silicon wafers are key materials for the production of semiconductor products such as integrated circuits, discrete devices, and sensors, and are a fundamental part of the semiconductor industry chain. At present, the vast majority of semiconductor products are still made of silicon-based materials. On the basis of silicon wafers, the processes of photolithography, etching, deposition, polishing and cleaning are repeated many times, and after cutting, packaging and testing, etc., chips with specific structures and functions are formed.

Semiconductor silicon wafers
Semiconductor silicon wafers

According to different sizes, silicon wafers can be divided into 50mm (2 inches), 75mm (3 inches), 100mm (4 inches), 150mm (6 inches), 200mm (8 inches) and 300mm (12 inches). At present, 8- and 12-inch silicon wafers are the most mainstream products in the market. 8-inch silicon wafers are mainly used in the 90nm-0.25μm process, and are mostly used in power devices, analog ICs, fingerprint recognition, and display drivers in sensing, security, and electric vehicles; 12-inch silicon wafers are mainly used in processes below 90nm , mainly used in the fields of logic chips, memory and automatic driving. “Large size” is the mainstream trend of silicon wafers. The larger the silicon wafer, the greater the number of chips produced in a single chip, and the lower the manufacturing cost. Therefore, silicon wafer manufacturing companies continue to move towards large-size silicon wafers.

PCB materials – PCB industry chain is expected to reshape

PCB demand is expected to reshape

Printed circuit board (PCB) is a board made of insulating and heat-insulating materials with a certain strength to fix various components in the circuit and provide a connecting circuit between various components. The printed circuit board is the key electronic interconnection of electronic products, and is known as the “mother of electronic products”. The rapid development of AI requires high computing power, and it also puts forward more and newer requirements for the number and level of equipment, which will drive the growth of PCB demand. According to Prismask, it is estimated that China’s PCB output value will reach 54.6 billion US dollars in 2026.

PCB will develop to high-end PCB boards in the future

There are many types of PCBs, and currently China is dominated by rigid PCBs. According to the flexibility of the substrate, PCB can be divided into rigid board (R-PCB), flexible board (FPC), and rigid-flexible board; according to the number of layers of the conductive map, it can be divided into single-layer PCB, double-layer PCB, and multilayer PCB; In addition, there are special product classifications, such as high-speed high-frequency PCBs, high-density interconnection PCBs (HDI), packaging substrates, etc.

Different types of PCBs
Different types of PCBs

From the perspective of PCB product subdivision structure, ordinary multilayer PCBs occupy the mainstream position of PCB products. With the rapid development of technology in the electronic circuit industry, terminal application products are showing a trend of miniaturization and intelligence. The market demand for high-density, high-layer, and high-tech PCB products will become more prominent. Products with higher technical content such as high-layer boards, HDI boards, and packaging substrates will grow faster, and their proportions in the PCB industry will further increase in the future. Compared with advanced PCB manufacturing countries such as Japan, the proportion of high-end printed circuit boards in China is still relatively low, especially in packaging substrates, high-end HDI boards, and high multi-layer boards.

CCL is the key to the PCB industry chain

Copper clad laminate (CCL)
Copper clad laminate (CCL)

Copper clad laminate (CCL), is the core material for making printed circuit boards, responsible for the three functions of conductive, insulating and supporting printed circuit boards. CCL has experienced “lead-free and halogen-free” and “light and thin”, and is currently developing in the direction of “high frequency and high speed”. According to different types of reinforcing materials and resins, rigid CCLs mainly include glass fiber cloth-based CCLs, paper-based CCLs, CEM-3, CEM-1 (four types of rigid CCLs) and metal substrates. Among rigid copper clad laminates, FR-4 epoxy glass fiber cloth-based copper clad laminates are currently the most used and widely used products in PCB manufacturing; among metal substrates, aluminum based copper clad laminates are the largest variety.

Optical materials – AI drives the new development of optical display materials

AI is expected to lead the rapid development of new display

New displays generally refer to LCD, OLED, AMOLED, Mini/Micro-LED, QLED, printed display, laser display, 3D display, holographic display, electronic paper flexible display, graphene display and other technologies. The upstream of the new display industry chain structure includes development/etching, glass substrates, testing, packaging materials, coating/packaging, driver ICs, liquid crystal materials, circuit boards, etc.; the midstream includes LED panels, OLED panels, LCD panels, etc.; the downstream industries are applications fields, mainly mobile phones, VR/AR, wearable devices, vehicle displays, laser projection, etc.


As a bright window for information display carriers and human-computer interaction in the digital age, display is becoming an important port for people to receive visual information. The display industry is deeply integrating with emerging industries such as 5G, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things. Many fields of AI require new display technology as a presentation carrier. The new demands brought by AI will lead to the rapid development of new displays, and related displays and optical materials are expected to benefit.

The market demand for touch screen equipment is expanding

OCA glue is a special adhesive used for bonding transparent optical components (such as lenses, etc.), which is required to be colorless and transparent, with a light transmittance of more than 95% and good bonding strength. It can be cured at room temperature or at medium temperature, and has the characteristics of small curing shrinkage. In general, OCA refers to a double-sided lamination product in which an optical acrylic pressure-sensitive adhesive is made into a non-substrate film, and then a layer of release film is attached to the upper and lower bottom layers.




Hi, I am Kerstin, graduating from one of a well- known university in China and I has a master's degree in physics. I have more than 5 year's experience as a professional engineer in PCB industry and expertise in PCB design, PCB assembly, PCB manufacturing, etc. I am committed to offering services and solutions about PCB/PCBA for various industries for their projects with professional knowledge. During 5 years of engineering career, I have done different circuit designing projects for different companies such as electronics, industry and medical devices, winning a lot of reputation among many customers. Selected as an outstanding employee of IBE every year. I'm always here to provide you with fast, reliable, quality services about PCB/PCBA.

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