GaN-on-Si mass adoption for LED apps remains unclear
Gallium nitride on silicon (GaN-on-Si) technology has emerged as a cheaper alternative to the current ones: silicon, which is reaching its limit on account of Moore's law, for power devices, and sapphire for LEDs. The cost benefits notwithstanding, the prospect of a widespread adoption for GaN-on-Si is higher in power applications than in LEDs, according to a Yole Développement report.
The power electronics market addresses conversion applications, where increase in power and operating frequencies lead to substantial energy losses. Silicon technology at 28nm is reported to be at the frontier of Moore's law. This being the case, meeting higher requirements is expected to get difficult. But GaN based power electronics have the potential to significantly improve efficiency at both high power and frequencies while reducing device complexity and weight.
Yole estimated GaN based power devices will make up more than seven per cent of the overall power device market by 2020. "GaN-on-Si will dominate the GaN based power electronics market because of its lower cost and CMOS compatibility," said Yole Développement analyst Eric Virey.
Power GaN is still in its early stage and presents only a tiny part of power electronics market. Although GaN based devices remain more expensive than Si based devices today, the overall cost of GaN devices for some applications are expected to be lower than Si devices three years from now, according to some manufacturers.
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