GaN power devices: a promising, fast-growing market
A GROWING MARKET WITH LOTS OF EXCITING NEWS IN 2015 - 2016
2015 - 2016 has been an exciting year for the gallium nitride (GaN) power business. Up until late 2014, 600V/650V GaN HEMTs’ commercial availability was still questionable, despite some announcements from different players. Fast-forward to 2016 end users can now buy not only low-voltage GaN (<200V) devices from Efficient Power Conversion (EPC), but also high-voltage (600V/650V) components from several players, including Transphorm, GaN Systems, and Panasonic.
Also, a new start-up, Navitas Semiconductor, announced their GaN power IC in March 2016, followed by Dialog Semiconductors revealing their GaN power IC in August 2016. 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. For example, EPC 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 80V power stage and 600V power stage in 2015 and 2016, respectively.
Despite these exciting developments, the GaN power market remains small compared to the gigantic $335B silicon semiconductor market. In fact, according to Yole Développement (Yole) investigation the GaN power business was less than $10M in 2015. But before you think twice about GaN, remember that a small market size is not unusual for products just appearing on the market. The first GaN devices were not commercially available until 2010, so we are talking about an industry that is only six years old. What is most important is the GaN market’s future potential – and Yole expects the GaN power business to grow, reaching a market size of around $300M in 2021 at a 2016 – 2021 CAGR of 86%.
FROM A ONCE-HAZY PICTURE, DOMINANT APPLICATIONS ARE BEGINNING TO EMERGE
Which application(s) will drive the GaN power device market? After numerous discussions, several dominant applications have begun rising above the rest...
Amongst different targeted applications, the power supply segment is by far the biggest application for 2015 - 2016, allowing high-voltage and low-voltage GaN power devices to bring their added-value for AC-DC, isolated DC-DC, and point of load (POL) functions. Looking ahead, power supply applications are expected to be the leading applications during the 2016 - 2021 forecast period, with GaN expected to play an increasingly important power supply role for data center, telecom, and AC fast chargers.
For low-voltage GaN, the markets appear quite promising: with the development of different wireless charging standards such as Qi and AirFuel, GaNpowered multi-mode devices could be convenient for system manufacturers. Also, increased envelopment tracking in cellular base stations offers good opportunities for GaN, especially as consumers move towards 5G and efficiency becomes more critical. With the development of different robotic and automotive applications, lidar will be one of the enabling technologies and key components, and GaN device is expected to play an integral role in offering high switching frequency and high efficiency.
This report conveys Yole’s understanding of GaN implementation in different segments and offers a comprehensive summary of GaN power device market data (split by application), including power supply, PV, EV/HEV, UPS, lidar, wireless power, ET, and more.
ENTERING THE GAN POWER DEVICE MARKET IS A KEY STRATEGY/OPPORTUNITY FOR MANY PLAYERS
Poised to be a fast-growing market, more and more players are entering or considering entering this market. This includes start-ups like Navitas Semiconductors and established semiconductor players like On Semiconductors, Dialog Semiconductors, Alpha and Omega, and others.
It is fascinating to see players with different profiles competing on the same playing field:
- In terms of company size: industrial giants vs. startups
- Technically: cascade vs. enhanced mode GaN
- Sales strategies: distributor vs. privileged clients
Also meriting mention are power business “outsiders” like San’an, Epistar, and Lattice Power. These LED players also hope to capitalize on this blossoming market. Overall, the GaN power business’s industrial landscape is expected to evolve quickly in the coming years.
This report furnishes an overview of the GaN power industry playground, covering the value chain from epitaxy and device design to device processing. It also outlines Yole’s understanding of the market’s current dynamics and future evolution.
- Updated market segmentation
- Detailed description of how lidar, wireless power, and envelope tracking (ET) applications constitute a new playground for GaN power devices
- Comprehensive overview of the power supply segment, including GaN power supplies for data center applications
- Analysis of GaN-on-GaN power devices’ potential