Strategy Analytics forecasts that the market for Gallium Nitride (GaN) microelectronic devices will grow at a compound annual average growth rate (CAAGR) of 98 percent through to 2012. The latest analysis concludes that military and defense applications will dominate demand for GaN devices, accounting for 55 percent of the total GaN market in 2012.

With the automotive industry now looking to silicon carbide (SiC) technology to replace silicon bipolar junction transistor (BJT) in hybrid vehicles, wireless infrastructure markets will represent the primary commercial opportunity for GaN.

“Despite strong growth projections, the development of a commercial market for GaN still faces a number of challenges, not least of which will be the growing high voltage, high power and wide bandwidth capabilities of GaAs and Si technologies,” cautions Asif Anwar at Strategy Analytics. “This will have an impact on long-term growth and could potentially limit GaN adoption to niches where other technologies simply cannot compete.”

The forthcoming study, “GaN Market Update 2007-2012,” also looks at long-term substrate material trends:
• SiC will remain the mainstay as a substrate technology for GaN devices.
• GaN-on-SiC devices are predicted to account for 83 percent of the GaN device market in 2012.
• While GaN bulk substrate technology development will progress through 2012, penetration of GaN bulk substrates in the GaN RF market will be limited in the face of competition from Si and SiC substrates.