New product developments in the GaN power market, including the commercialization of 600-V GaN devices and new GaN power ICs, are expected to drive growth over the next few years. The market is forecast to reach $280 million in 2021, up from less than $10 million in 2015, according to Yole Développement (Yole).
The GaN power market is dominated by low voltage <200-V devices over the forecast period, but 600-V devices should take off, according to Zhen Zong, technology & market analyst at Yole.
Yole expects growth to surge in the GaN power market over the next five years thanks to new product developments and supplier collaboration. The market research firm forecasts a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 86 percent between 2015 and 2021. Key market drivers include power supplies for data centers and telecom, AC fast chargers, Lidar, ET, and wireless power.
“Numerous powerful developments and key collaborations have been announced during this period and confirmed a promising and fast-growing industry”, said Dr. Hong Lin, technology & market analyst at Yole, in a statement.
Collaborations over the past few years include partnerships between Integrated Device Technology (IDT) and Efficient Power Conversion (EPC); Infineon Technologies and Panasonic; Exagan and XFab, as well as TSMC and GaN Systems for volume production.
New product developments cited in the report include the introduction of Texas Instruments’ 80-V power stage in 2015 followed by a 600-V power stage in 2016 as well as the launch of Visics’ first GaN product in 2015. Other new products include a GaN power IC from start-up Navitas Semiconductor and Dialog Semiconductor’s GaN power IC, which was introduced in August.
“Up until late 2014, 600V/650V GaN HEMTs’ commercial availability was still questionable, despite some announcements from different players,” said Lin. “Fast-forward to 2016, end users can now buy not only low-voltage GaN (<200V) devices from EPC Power, but also high-voltage (600V/650V) components from several players, including Transphorm, GaN Systems, and Panasonic.”
“The idea of bringing GaN from the power semiconductor market to the much bigger analog IC market is of interest to several other players too,” added Lin. “For example, EPC Power and GaN Systems are both working on a more integrated solution, and Texas Instruments, a well-established analog IC player, has also been engaged in GaN activities, releasing an 80-V power stage and 600-V power stage in 2015 and 2016, respectively.”
Although the GaN power market is very small compared to the $335 billion silicon semiconductor market, Lin said to keep in mind that GaN devices weren’t commercially available until 2010.
One of the potential benefits of GaN devices is lower cost compared to silicon devices. “GaN is a wide bandgap material offering similar performance benefits to SiC, but with greater cost-reduction potential,” according to The Information Network. “This price and performance advantage is possible because GaN power devices can be grown on silicon substrates that are larger and less expensive than SiC.”
Analysts at The Information Network expects GaN-on-silicon (Si) devices to reach price parity with – and at the same performance as – silicon MOSFETs and insulated-gate bipolar transistors (IGBTs) by 2018. “When this benchmark is reached, the GaN power market is expected to surpass $600 million in 2025,” said the market researcher.