GaN Power Device Market To Rocket To Over $1 Billion
The GaN market will see current LED players broaden their horizons into power devices using their existing capabilities
Yolé Developpement's new report says that in the next few years, cross-fertilisation with the LED industry will boost the GaN power market to unprecedented levels. The report "Power GaN 2012" offers full market coverage from epiwafer to final applications.
Yolé says the GaN power device industry has probably generated less than $2.5 million in revenues in 2011, as only IRF and EPC are selling products on the open market. However, the overall GaN activity saw extra revenues as R&D contracts, qualification tests and sampling for qualified customers was extremely buoyant during the year.
In the very short term, IRF and EPC will probably remain the two main commercial vendors of GaN power devices in early 2012. This market is likely to stay below $10 million for devices, with the rest being made through R&D sales.
2013 should signal the transition from qualification to production ramp-up for several new entrants. The device market could reach the $50 million threshold.
In 2014, most of these new entrants will ramp-up their capacity, and by 2015 the availability and adoption of qualified 600 V+ GaN devices should see the market grow very quickly, and open doors to non-consumer applications.
In 2015, twelve to fifteen players will share the consumption of more than 100,000 x 6", or equivalent, epiwafers.
Beyond that, if GaN is qualified in the EV/HEV sector, GaN device business could cross the billion dollar line and the GaN-on-Silicon substrate market could exceed $300 million revenues by 2019.
However, it is still unclear how car makers will choose between SiC, GaN or the current Silicon technology. At the substrate end, R&D activities are still divided between several options. These include GaN-on-Sapphire, GaN-on-SiC, GaN-on-GaN, GaN-on-AlN and GaN-on-Silicon.
Nevertheless, GaN-on-Silicon is likely to take a dominant position as 6" is now available with more than 7μm thick GaN epi and 8" is under qualification.
One of the organisations investigating 8" GaN-on-Silicon is R&D institute imec, which is collaborating with a number of partners for power devices as well as LEDs. Eight inch diameter availability is probably the parameter that will make this technology choice obvious.
The GaN power world is attracting more and more newcomers. Yolé has screened five companies who make the epiwafers, more than six GaN device pure-players and another fifteen Silicon-based power firms developing GaN technology.
One of the latest trends is that LED innovators are starting to look at power devices as a new business opportunity. They are focussing on diversifying their capabilities to convert existing extra LED capacity into power. That represents an “epsilon" today, but Yolé is assuming it may create some disturbances in the natural and organic expected growth.
GaN power electronics and the LED industry have always been and will always be intertwined; both are linked in technology and market dynamics. For instance, the premises of GaN epi technology came from the LED industry that has brought this technology from labs to mass production in the fab.
Today, the extensive developments of GaN-on-Silicon epiwafers fertilise both the LED and the Power industry. Most of the epiwafer vendors are targeting these two segments with dedicated products and offers.
Tomorrow, it is likely some incumbent LED pure-players will enter the Power industry world, using their extra-capacity and existing tool-sets to make, at least epiwafers, or even power devices.
So, at end of the day, instead of separating the two sectors it's better to talk about the “GaN device industry" as the main players could well be the same.
Power device makers usually buy polished Silicon wafers, conduct the epi (or buy Silicon epiwafers) if needed (FZ thin wafers don’t require epitaxy), then process the devices. This is roughly the same for SiC technology.
In most cases, one of two scenarios could occur for those planning to enter the GaN field. Some players would not actually grow the GaN using MOCVD epitaxy. Instead, they will buy GaN epiwafers and process them in existing CMOS Front-End lines, as they use to do with Silicon or SiC substrates.
Others will try to fully integrate the process; they will start with the bare substrate, grow the GaN epi and conduct the device processing.
The "Power GaN 2012" report provides a complete analysis of the GaN device and substrate industry in the power electronics field along with key market metrics. It provides company involvement as well as technology state-of-the-art. In addition, an extensive review of the possible substrates for GaN is provided and over 65 companies have been considered in the analysis.
The majority of information in this article has been detailed in the Yolé Developpment report, " Power GaN 2012".