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Industry News / Manufacturing/Services / Semiconductors / Integrated Circuits

GaAs Evolving to Stave Off Silicon Challenge

December 1, 2009
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The GaAs industry is creating innovations designed to stave off the dual challenges of integration and low-cost silicon technologies. However, Heterojunction Bipolar Transistor (HBT) and High Electron Mobility Transistor (HEMT) processes will continue to underpin the commercial market for Gallium Arsenide (GaAs) devices, which will be worth $4 to $5 B by 2013, as seen in the latest Strategy Analytics study, “GaAs MMIC Process Technology Roadmap.”

Bipolar Field Effect Transistor (BiFET) and Bipolar High Electron Mobility Transistor (BiHEMT) processes will enable GaAs device manufacturers to integrate HBT power amplifiers onto a single die with HEMT-based switches and other functions. Meanwhile, the use of optical lithography for production of smaller geometry processes will enable more cost-effective production of millimeter-wave integrated circuits (IC).

“BiFET and BiHEMT technologies will enable the development of a future class of products, providing integrated solutions that retain the industry-leading performance offered by GaAs and necessary for next-generation wireless markets,” noted Steve Entwistle, VP of Strategy Analytics’ Strategic Technologies Practice.

“GaAs is still erroneously perceived by many as an exotic, expensive technology,” said Asif Anwar, Director of the Strategy Analytics GaAs and Compound Semiconductor Technologies Service. “The reality is that GaAs technologies continue to meet the requirements from cost-sensitive markets, such as cellular handsets and is the most cost-effective technology for markets that require millimeter-wave performance.”

Anwar concluded, “The application of optical lithography for millimeter-wave IC production will significantly enhance the cost-effectiveness of GaAs compared to silicon technology-based offerings, while retaining the benefits of performance and faster time-to-market.”


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