Increased Usage of GaN Semiconductors across Defense and Aerospace Industries to Propel GaN Semiconductor Shipments

The global market for gallium nitride (GaN) semiconductor devices is largely consolidated, with the top four companies commanding a share of over 65% of the overall market in 2015, states Transparency Market Research (TMR) in a new report. The dominant company among these four top vendors, Efficient Power Conversion Corporation, accounted for a 19.2% share of the global market in the said year. The other three topmost companies of the global market, which collectively enjoyed a considerably large share in the overall global market in the said year, are NXP Semiconductors N.V., GaN Systems Inc., and Cree Inc.

Defense and Aerospace Industries Continue to Dominate; Healthcare Industry to Present Novel Growth Opportunities

Of the key end-use industries utilizing GaN semiconductor devices, applications across the defense and aerospace industry are the dominant contributor to the overall market revenue presently. In 2015, this end-use segment accounted for a share of more than 40% of the overall market. GaN-based transistors find enormous demand across a variety of applications in the defense industry. Applications such as electronic warfare, radar communication, and improvised explosive device (IED) jammers are expected to lead to a sustainable rise in demand for GaN semiconductor devices in the sector in the next few years as well. Consistently rising defense budgets across developed and developing economies will help fortify the trend.

New application areas and potential markets for the usage of GaN semiconductors are being explored across the globe, which is expected to grant momentum to the market in the near future. The medical industry, for instance, is expected to emerge as an eminent end-user of the market in the near future. Recent discoveries, such as the confirmation that GaN can be safely used in biomedical implants, will aid market’s development in this direction.

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North America and Europe to Remain Most Influential Regional Markets

The market for GaN semiconductor devices in North America presently commands the dominant position in the global market. In terms of revenue, the North America GaN semiconductor devices market accounted for a share of 30% of the global market in 2015. Over the next few years as well, the North America market is expected to expand at an excellent pace, driven primarily by the rising use of GaN-based transistors in the military and defense sectors in the region. Moreover, the rising demand for LEDs in consumer electronic products such as smartphones, gaming devices, laptops, and has further boosted the demand for GaN semiconductor devices in the region.

Trailing the North America market, the Europe market for GaN semiconductor devices is also expected to witness strong growth in the years to come. The European Space Agency (ESA) has identified GaN as a ‘key enabling technology’ for space and has founded the GREAT2 (GaN reliability enhancement and technology transfer) initiative to focus on the manufacture of efficient GaN devices for several space applications in the future years. Moreover, the GaN semiconductor devices market is also expected to benefit from the increased use of GaN high performance amplifiers in the region’s telecommunications industry. The Asia Pacific GaN semiconductor devices market is chiefly driven by the flourishing consumer electronics industry and the rising demand for affordable mobile devices.

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As compared to gallium arsenide (GaAS) and silicon carbide (SiC), Gallium nitride (GaN) is a new technology and is a wide band gap semiconductor material. GaN semiconductor devices provide a competitive advantage in terms of thermal performance, efficiency, weight and size. GaN is anticipated to be the next generation power semiconductor and thus different countries are indulged in developing widespread applications of GaN semiconductors. The wide band gap semiconductor technology has matured rapidly over several years. In fact, Gallium Nitride High Electron Mobility Transistors (GaN HEMTs) have been available as commercial off-the-shelf devices since 2005. Recently, the IMEC (Interuniversity Microelectronics Center) in Europe organized a “GaN-on-Si research program” in order to produce an 8 inch GaN-on-Si wafer. However, fully-fledged application of GaN semiconductor devices is still in the nascent stage as compared to silicon semiconductor devices that have been around for more than a decade.

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