13 January 2018

Gallium nitride (GaN) compound is a hard semiconductor material featuring a wide band gap (energy gap) of 3.4 electronvolts (eV) with high heat capacity and thermal conductivity. GaN finds significant applications in power devices used in electrical energy control systems and conversions including telecommunication, industrial, automotive, and high RF antennas and radar in aerospace and defense technologies are expected to provide opportunities for growth of the GaN market over the forecast period.

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High energy efficiency loss in power devices is primarily attributed to conduction losses due to high device resistance and switching transitions. GaN materials prevent such energy loss, as they are featured with high breakdown voltage and low conduction resistance, in turn enabling high-speed switching operations. GaN thus is used to ensure high efficiency of operations in electrical systems. Moreover, low conduction resistance of GaN, allows the material compound to sustain high energy application in compact sizes, enabling higher miniaturization of the circuits. These significant benefits of GaN over other alternatives such as silicon transistors that feature relatively larger chip area to enhance their conductivity, are expected to fuel the overall GaN power device market.

Substantial growth of end-use verticals is expected to boost market growth

Advancements in technology related to GaN power devices are enhancing the computational power of all systems, in turn boosting market growth. For instance, in December 2017, Yuji Zhao, an electrical and computer expert from Arizona State University received a three year grant of US$ 750,000 from National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Hot Operating Temperature Technology (HOTTech) program for the gallium nitride processor for applications in space. In January 2018, Corsair introduced Corsair AX1600i featuring off-the shelf efficiency, ripple suppression, noise levels, voltage regulation, and highly compact power supply unit. These two instances of technological developments are primarily based on the utilization of Gallium Nitride based materials. replacing Silicon transistors as prominently used material in the switching devices.

The recent past has witness high proliferation of electric vehicles and increasing adoption of electrical and electronic components in internal combustion engines for enhanced and convenient control among users. According to Coherent Market Insights, vehicle electrification technologies are expected to witness a CAGR of over 8.8% over the forecast period and be valued at over US$ 120 billion by 2025. Increasing adoption of autonomous vehicles is expected to increase the demand for efficient communication systems featuring high frequency bandwidth and robust operations. This in turn, is expected to fuel growth of the market for GaN power devices in the near future.

High cost of systems featuring integration of gallium nitride components due to capital intensive nature of materials and manufacturing procedures is expected to hamper growth of the market. Moreover, GaAs components are widely used in small signal Monolithic Microwave Integrated Circuit (MMIC) and low noise amplifier (LNA). Application of gallium nitride semiconductor is projected to become mainstream component, though it will require considerable time owing to the cost factor and thus, is among the prominent growth challenges.

Asia Pacific accounts for the largest population base and is also the largest market for key end-use industries, in turn, contributing to the largest consumer base of GaN power devices. According to Coherent Market Insights’ analysis, China and India contribute to around 35% of the global population base. Moreover, largest consumer base for automotive, consumer electronics, communication, and industrial manufacturing will provide the strongest growth prospects over the forecast period.
Some of the key players in the GaN power devices market are Cree Inc., Efficient Power Conversion (EPC) Corporation, Infineon Technologies, GaN Systems Inc., Macom, Microsemi Corporation, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, Navitas Semiconductor, Qorvo, Inc., and Toshiba Electronic Devices & Storage Corporation.

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