TMCnet Feature
September 20, 2013

Microwave RF Power Semiconductor Market to Jump to Over $250M

By Ed Silverstein, TMCnet Contributor

New gallium nitride (GaN) devices will help boost the Microwave RF Power Semiconductor Market to over $250 million by 2018.

The higher-power GaN devices will operate at frequencies between 4 and 18 GHz. They will be targeted to point-to-point communications, SATCOM, radar, industrial, and medical applications, according to ABI Research (News - Alert).

“While gallium arsenide devices are presently the backbone of microwave RF power it is gallium nitride that will drive growth going forward,” ABI research director Lance Wilson said.

“GaN can operate at much higher voltages and at power levels that were difficult or impossible to reach using GaAs [gallium arsenide],” he explained.

It is also noteworthy for the market that microwave GaN now can “seriously challenge traveling wave tube applications for new designs,” ABI added in a statement. Microwave RF power semiconductor devices produce outputs of more than 3 watts. GaN is used for semiconductors.

One example of its application to the marketplace comes from Fujitsu (News - Alert) Semiconductor Europe. Earlier this year, the firm announced the release of MB51T008A, a GaN power device. It has a breakdown voltage of 150 V. The device can reach one-half of the figure of merit of silicon-based, power devices with a similar breakdown voltage.

Fujitsu Semiconductor will be able to offer GaN devices that have more efficient power supplies. They can be used for home appliances, ICT equipment, autos, and industrial applications. Production will likely begin in 2014.

In another recent study, researchers from North Carolina State University and Purdue University (News - Alert) reported that since GaN is non-toxic and is compatible with human cells, it could be used more in biomedical implants. Now, it is often used for such applications as LED lighting and optic sensors.

The possible medical uses include electrodes used in neurostimulation therapy for Alzheimer’s disease and transistors used to monitor blood chemistry.

Edited by Rory J. Thompson
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