GaN Material Costs Dropping Over Time

March 27, 2013
The cost of GaN power semiconductor materials is expected to drop rapidly over the next six years, according to a detailed market study.

Emerging semiconductor substrate materials such as gallium nitride (GaN) have excited design engineers across a variety of different markets for their tremendous potential in both RF/microwave power and in optical and lighting applications. This wide-bandgap semiconductor material can significantly exceed the performance of traditional silicon materials, although the cost of the material is still much higher.

But that cost may be dropping, according to a report from Lux Research on the cost of bulk GaN semiconductor materials. Although GaN materials provide significantly higher efficiency in semiconductor devices than silicon, bulk GaN is quite expensive: according to the report, about $1900 or more for a 2-in. substrate compared to about $25 to $50 for a 6-in. silicon substrate. “The future of bulk GaN is going to come down to how it faces off against silicon substrates,” notes Pallavi Madakasira, Lux Research Analyst and the lead author of the report (titled Price or Performance: Bulk GaN Vies with Silicon for Value in LEDs, Power Electronics and Laser Diodes”).

About the Author

Jack Browne | Technical Contributor

Jack Browne, Technical Contributor, has worked in technical publishing for over 30 years. He managed the content and production of three technical journals while at the American Institute of Physics, including Medical Physics and the Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology. He has been a Publisher and Editor for Penton Media, started the firm’s Wireless Symposium & Exhibition trade show in 1993, and currently serves as Technical Contributor for that company's Microwaves & RF magazine. Browne, who holds a BS in Mathematics from City College of New York and BA degrees in English and Philosophy from Fordham University, is a member of the IEEE.

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