Wide-Bandgap Electronics To See Strong Growth As Substrates Improve, Says Strategies Unlimited

Mar 4th, 2008

Mountain View, CA —Electronic devices based on wide-bandgap semiconductors are now set to grow by 30% or more per year through 2012, after years of development. The two most important semiconductors will be gallium nitride (GaN, mainly for microwave applications) and silicon carbide (SiC, mainly for power supplies and motor controls). Other materials, such as aluminum nitride (AlN), are much less mature. This growth depends strongly on many factors, however, particularly improvement in the substrate materials. These findings are published in a new technology and market report by Strategies Unlimited, Wide-bandgap Electronics—2008.

Wide-bandgap materials offer nearly ideal properties for fast, hot, high-power electronics. They have attractive properties but have high melting points, above 2,000 °C, and they have taken the semiconductor industry the
longest to master. They benefit from much of the development in silicon electronics, but silicon-based products are much less expensive to manufacture. Therefore, wide-bandgap electronics has to compete in those niches where silicon and other solutions are inferior.

The projected market growth strongly depends on continuing improvements in substrate quality, price, and availability; new device and package designs; and the ability of system designers to take advantage of the new technology. The ultimate goal is to make the devices on native substrates with diameters of at least 4-inches, and defect levels of 104 per cm2, or less. Such improvemen ts would increase manufacturing yields and lower
costs, and ultimately expand the market for the electronic devices.

Early growth will be dominated by products for microwave power amplifiers, such as for communications, radar, and military uses. Growth in products for power management will take longer, while low-power products for high-temperature environments will not see a significant opportunity through the forecast period. The devices will compete against established semiconductor-based devices and vacuum tubes in segments that will have a combined value of about $1 billion in revenues by 2012.

With rapid breakthroughs, the widebandgap electronics market could advance to as much as $300 million by 2012, as manufacturing costs fall and the products can compete against silicon devices in power supply applications.

There are over 150 companies in 16 countries researching wide-bandgap materials and devices. Leading suppliers of wide-bandgap electronics today are Cree and Eudyna, with two-thirds of the revenues. The market is split among several types of players. Cree expects to leverage its internal manufacture of SiC substrates and LEDs to be competitive in wide-bandgap electronics, while Nitronex aims for low-cost manufacturing by growing wide-bandgap material on silicon substrates. Meanwhile, established GaAs suppliers like Eudyna, RFMD, Triquint, and others also aim to leverage their expertise in microwave electronics, while STMicroelectronics and Infineon aim to leverage their expertise in power management components.

Wide-bandgap Electronics—2008, available now, reviews the technology, applications, key trends, markets, and suppliers of electronics based on SiC, GaN, and AlN. It presents forecasts by application and material type, including unit sales and price projections, along with estimates of revenues and market shares of key suppliers. For moreinformation, contact Strategies Unlimited on +1 650 941-3438 (voice) or +1 650 941-5120 (fax), e‑mail at info@strategies‑u.com, or check the company's web site at www.strategies-u.com.

Founded in 1979, Strategies Unlimited specializes in market research and strategic consulting directed at optoelectronics, photovoltaic components and systems, optical networking, and compound semiconductors. The company, based in Mountain View, California, and is a research unit of PennWell Corporation, a global media and information company serving the energy and advanced technology markets since 1910.

PennWell publishes over 45 periodicals includingIndustrial Laser Solutions, Vision Systems Design, Laser Focus World, Lightwave, and Solid State Technology. For further information, go to www.pennwell.com.

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