The market for gallium nitride (GaN) semiconductors is largely consolidated, with the top four companies taking 65% of the overall market in 2015 says Transparency Market Research (TMR). The dominant company among these top four is Efficient Power Conversion (EPC) with a 19.2% share, with NXP Semiconductors, GaN Systems and Cree making up the rest.
Eliminating reliability issue of GaN semiconductors is expected to be an important area of focus as the market grows from $870.9 mn in 2015 to US$3.438bn by 2024, dominated by the aerospace and defence sectors with a 42% market share.
North America and Europe are presently the dominant regional markets for GaN semiconductor devices and are expected to retain dominance over the next few years as well, says TMR. The rising focus of the Europe Space Agency (ESA) on the increased usage of GaN semiconductors across space projects and the use of GaN-based transistors in the military and defence sectors in North America will help the GaN semiconductor devices market gain traction.
In the past few years, GaN technology has witnessed rapid advancements and vast improvement in the ability of GaN semiconductors to work under operating environments featuring high frequency, power density, and temperature with improved linearity and efficiency, driving the growth. The increased use of GaN semiconductor devices in the defence sector has also emerged as a key driver of the global GaN semiconductor devices market.
However, GaN semiconductors are relatively expensive as compared to silicon-based semiconductors owing to the high production costs of gallium nitride compared to silicon carbide says TMR. Silicon-based semiconductors have witnessed a significant decline in their costs over the past few years, making high cost of GaN semiconductors a foremost challenge that could hinder their large-scale adoption. The issue can be tackled by producing GaN in bulk. However, there is currently no widespread method that can be used for the purpose owing to the requisition of high operating pressure and temperature and limited scalability of the material.