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Gallium nitride development efforts escalate

TriQuint, Mitsubishi Electric, Nitronex, RFMD and Cree are among the companies announcing new developments on GaN devices

As products using GaN technology continue to gain acceptance in military and commercial applications, development activities at microelectronics companies are accelerating.

The Strategy Analytics GaAs and Compound Semiconductor Technologies Service (GaAs) viewpoint, “Compound Semiconductor Industry Review October-December 2011: Microelectronics,” captures product, technology, contract and financial announcements for companies such as RFMD, Skyworks, Fujitsu, Anadigics, Agilent, Hittite Microwave, TriQuint, Avago, NXP Semiconductors, Microsemi, Renesas Electronics, Freescale, Broadcom, Cree and Murata Manufacturing.

“GaN-based products have demonstrated performance advantages for military systems for some time and they are finally beginning to see acceptance in commercial applications, such as CATV and wireless infrastructure,” notes Eric Higham, Director of the Strategy Analytics GaAs and Compound Semiconductor Technologies Service. “As these application areas broaden, the industry is responding by increasing their efforts to develop new products, processes and partnerships.”

Asif Anwar, Director, Strategy Analytics Strategic Technologies Practice, adds, “Recent announcements indicate growing interest in GaN-on-Silicon processing to reduce cost and higher voltage GaN processes, which will improve power handling performance.”

The October - December quarter of 2011 saw mostly positive revenue reports from microelectronic companies, with Skyworks cementing its position as the leading GaAs device manufacturer. Companies continue to diversify through reorganisation, partnerships and product development aimed at adjacent and high performance market applications. GaN development activity continues strongly with several foundry and product announcements.

In the report, Strategy Analytics has summarised financial, product, contract and employment developments from leading compound semiconductor device suppliers in Q4 2011. These announcements address a variety of commercial and military applications that use GaAs, GaN, SiC, SiGe and complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) technologies.
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