AXT And IQE Shine In GaAs Rankings
US substrate supplier AXT and UK-based epiwafer foundry IQE have both made strong showings in Strategy Analytics latest survey of the GaAs material supply chain.
Based on marks for customer satisfaction and technical quality, the usual suspects came out top of the substrate rankings, with Freiberger, Hitachi Cable and Sumitomo Electric Industries rated almost identically.
"We did see changes in the rank order for commercial performance and, in particular, we have seen considerable improvement in AXT s commercial ratings," said Stephen Entwistle from the market analysis company.
After dealing with serious problems such as material quality and a precarious financial position over the past couple of years, AXT has bounced back under the leadership of CEO Phil Yin and has now issued a public stock offering to raise up to $28 million in extra cash.
Meanwhile, Singapore-based MBE Technology topped the epiwafer supplier rankings, thanks to a combination of high technical quality and low cost.
Epiwafer suppliers in non-Japan Asia have been able to differentiate themselves on cost, noted Entwistle s colleague Asif Anwar: "Aside from IQE, none of the other epitaxial wafer suppliers could match VPEC and MBE Technology wafer pricing," said the analyst.
The survey was based on 2005 ratings, before IQE expanded its scope through the acquisition of Emcore s electronic materials division.
"Robust" growth of defense market
Anwar and Entwistle have also predicted that GaN will begin its reign as the underlying compound semiconductor technology used in military applications like electronic warfare and advanced radar from 2010 onwards.
According to another of their market reports, GaAs device demand from the defense sector will increase at a year-on-year rate of 9 per cent in 2006 and continue at roughly the same rate of growth through the end of the current decade.
Entwistle says that chip makers who are supplying both GaAs and GaN technologies, such as TriQuint Semiconductor, will be able to add a complementary revenue stream as the newer GaN technologies become increasingly used in traditional vacuum tube applications.
Both of the reports mentioned in the article are available via the Strategy Analytics web site.