A diode is a two-terminal electronic component that conducts current in one direction. It is widely used to regulate voltage, to protect other semiconductor devices from high-voltage transients and to produce light (light-emitting diodes). As part of the discrete components, diodes also joined the current shortage wave with stretched lead times and allocated supply.
Entering Q3 2018, lead times continue to stretch for a broad range of diodes products: 20 weeks for Transient Voltage Suppression diodes (TVS), 24 to 36 weeks for Schottky diodes and 30 to 40 weeks for Zener diodes. Moreover, due to the price increase of raw materials, the price for some of the most commonly used diodes, such as 2N700, are reported to increase 17 times.
Similar to the passive components shortage, the increasing demand from the automotive segment is also causing the shortage and extended lead times for diodes. The demand for diodes is doubled in quantity in hybrid cars than traditional internal combustion engine cars. The ADAS system and car entertainment system requires a large number of auto-graded diodes. Additionally, the increasing demand for electrical appliances with frequency conversion and IoT is consuming most of the global diode supply. The emerging application of 5G technology also needs a substantial number of diodes in its power supply module.
On the supply side, the worldwide wafer shortage is impacting the supply of diodes. Several diode manufacturers have reported to struggle with the tight supply of upstream wafer and adjust their price due to rising material cost and other expense. Comparing with other components, the profit margin for diodes is relatively low. When wafer fab allocates its wafer capacity, they normally consider high-margin components first, which puts more pressure on the supply of diodes which typically have low-profit margins.