Although the spending on RF power semiconductors in wireless infrastructure markets has continued to stagnate, other markets—notably the military—are seeing increased activity. Also, according to a new study from ABI Research, gallium nitride—long seen as a promising new “material of choice” for RF power semiconductors—is finally starting to gain some market traction. The research indicates that total available market for RF power semiconductors in 2009 approaches $1 B.

“Gallium nitride (GaN) has markedly increased its market share in 2009 and is forecast to be a significant force by 2014,” notes ABI Research Director Lance Wilson. “It bridges the gap between two older technologies, exhibiting the high-frequency performance of gallium arsenide combined with the power handling capabilities of silicon LDMOS. It is now a mainstream technology which has achieved measurable market share and in future will capture a significant part of the market.”

The vertical market showing the strongest uptick in the RF power semiconductor business has been the military, which Wilson describes as being “now a very significant market.” While the producers of these devices are located in the major industrialized countries, the military market is now so global that end equipment buyers can be from anywhere.

“RF Power Semiconductors” examines RF power semiconductor devices that have power outputs of greater than 5 W and operate at frequencies of up to 3.8 GHz, which represent the bulk of applications in use today. The last study ABI Research published on this topic appeared late in 2007.

With the current release, analysis of the six main vertical segments (wireless infrastructure; military; industrial, scientific and medical (ISM); broadcast; commercial avionics and air traffic control; and non-cellular communications), which was previously subdivided into 24 sub-segments, is expanded to 29 sub-segments. This study is part of the firm’s Semiconductors Research Service, which also includes other Research Reports, Market Data, ABI Insights and analyst inquiry support.