Strategy Analytics’ latest study, “Gallium Nitride Markets: Commercial Markets Drive Power Electronics,” concludes that military and high power electronics (HPE) applications will be the catalysts for the development of a gallium nitride (GaN) device market through 2010. Commercial wireless infrastructure applications will also drive demand in the future and the study forecasts that the total market for GaN microelectronic devices will grow at a CAGR of 151 percent through 2010.

As a material, GaN possesses some unique material properties, which would make it possible to create new devices with high breakdown voltage, extremely high power density and high gain at microwave frequencies. GaN’s high temperature tolerance, alongside excellent thermal conductivity properties, makes it an ideal material for high power applications as well as for high temperature, extreme environment applications.

“The military and high power electronics market both have future needs that will make use of the advantages offered by wide bandgap materials such as GaN; and this will help the developing GaN device market,” observes Asif Anwar, director of the Strategy Analytics GaAs service. “On the other hand, the needs of the commercial telecommunications wireless market have yet to really place the incumbent technologies, Si LDMOS and GaAs pHEMT, under major competitive strain although GaN will start to penetrate these markets over the next few years regardless.”

“Future GaN device production will continue to be centered around non-native substrates,” notes Stephen Entwistle, vice president of the Strategic Technologies Practice at Strategy Analytics. “We expect SiC material to continue to be the primary substrate of choice, while silicon substrates will also gain traction.”