News Article

GaN Power Management Chip Market Set For Boom

Thanks to rapid growth in the high-end server, notebook, mobile handset and wired communication segments, the Gallium Nitride (GaN) power management semiconductor market is expected to reach $183.6 million in revenue in 2013, up from virtually nil in 2010, according to iSuppli Corp.

Thanks to rapid growth in the high-end server, notebook, mobile handset and wired communication segments, the Gallium Nitride (GaN) power management semiconductor market is expected to reach $183.6 million in revenue by 2013, up from virtually nil in 2010, according to iSuppli Corp.

GaN is an emerging process technology for power management chips that recently moved beyond the university-based testing phase and into the commercialization stage. The technology represents an attractive market opportunity for suppliers by providing their customers with capabilities that may be out of the reach of present semiconductor process materials.

iSuppli believes that during the past two years, several events have occurred that have made GaN an up-and-coming star in the power management semiconductor world.

First, the use of silicon has reached its practical limits in power management semiconductors. Furthermore, there have been major breakthroughs in growing GaN layers on silicon. Power designers also want to develop more efficient systems and to update their high-voltage products to waste less electricity.

Component suppliers have begun offering GaN parts. International Rectifier Corp., for instance, released its first GaN technology-based Point-of-Load (POL) solutions in February, while Efficient Power Conversions Corp. (EPCC) is placing all its bets on GaN technology, releasing 10 power MOSFET devices this month.

The figure presents iSuppli’s GaN power management revenue forecast for the period of 2008 through 2013.



 

Efficiency needed

The adoption of GaN devices will be driven by the improved efficiency and small form factors enabled by the material. Such benefits are in particularly high demand for portable electronic products, including mobile PCs and smart phones. They also provide advantages for power-hungry electronic equipment, such as enterprise servers and wired communications infrastructure gear.

However, adoption of GaN technology for these applications in 2010 and 2011 will be slow due to the high cost of parts using the material. As the technology advances and the cost of manufacturing GaN technology drops in 2012 and 2013, the technology will begin to steal market share away from conventional MOSFETs, driver ICs and voltage regulator ICs.

The first adoption of GaN devices most likely will be among servers, which always demand high-performance devices and often are one of the first product areas to accept new technologies that improve performance. Over the next three years, the bulk of device volume likely will be driven by notebooks, as the power savings and smaller form factor delivered by GaN will be in high demand. .

Marijana Vukicevic is the principal analyst for power management at iSuppli Corp.

Discover more about the emerging power management technologies with Vukicevic’s new report entitled World of Unlimited Possibilities — GaN Devices to Capture Market Share. For more information on this report, please visit:

http://www.isuppli.com/Pages/World-of-Unlimited-Possibilities-GaN-Devices-to-Capture-Market-Share.aspx
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