GaN Power Semiconductor Market to Exceed $1 Billion by 2021

March 15, 2012 by Jeff Shepard

The emerging market for Gallium Nitride (GaN) power semiconductors is forecast to grow from almost zero in 2011 to over $1 billion in 2021, according to a new report from IMS Research. The research firm analyzed all of the key end markets for the products and found that power supplies, solar inverters and industrial motor drives would be the three main drivers of growth.

While Silicon Carbide (SiC) power devices have been around for some years, GaN power semiconductors have only just appeared in the market. GaN is a wide bandgap material which offers similar performance benefits to SiC but has greater cost reduction potential. "This is possible because GaN power devices will be grown on a larger, lower-cost Silicon substrate," stated Richard Eden, Senior Market Analyst and author of The World Market for Silicon Carbide & Gallium Nitride Power Semiconductors. "The key market driver is the speed at which GaN-on-Si devices can achieve price parity with Silicon MOSFETs, IGBTs or rectifiers with equivalent performance."

The speed of GaN transistor developments has accelerated in the last two years. The launch of International Rectifier’s "GaNpowIR" and EPC’s "eGaN FET" devices started the low voltage market in 2010. Transphorm’s 600V GaN transistors opened the possibility of GaN competing with high voltage MOSFETs and IGBTs.

The first applications to adopt GaN will be power supplies where the total system cost savings outweigh the unit price penalty of the device. These include PC & notebook adaptors, servers, etc., and domestic appliances like room air-conditioners. PV microinverters, electric vehicle battery charging and other new applications are likely to adopt GaN power devices in the future.

The latest findings on this important emerging market can be found in IMS Research’s recently released report The World Market for Silicon Carbide & Gallium Nitride Power Semiconductors – 2012 edition.