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January 30, 2019

VIEWPOINT 2019: Hong Lin, PhD, Senior Technology and Market Analyst, Compound Semiconductors, Yole Développement
VIEWPOINT 2019: Hong Lin, PhD, Senior Technology and Market Analyst, Compound Semiconductors, Yole Développement
Hong Lin, PhD, Senior Technology and Market Analyst, Compound Semiconductors, Yole Développement
Silicon carbide (SiC), Gallium Arsenide (GaAs), Gallium Nitride (GaN), Indium Phosphide (InP)... The compound semiconductor industry enjoys a bright outlook, with double digit growth potential in different market segments.

If I need to highlight one compound for the year 2018, it would be SiC. The rumors of Tesla using SiC in its inverter was verified by reverse engineering analysis - see the report Tesla Model 3 Inverter with SiC Power Module from STMicroelectronics by System Plus Consulting, partner of Yole Développement. The impact of this event is much more profound than we could have imagined. In Q3 & Q4, the inflow of information on SiC continued increasing, directly from both OEMs and Tiers 1.

The automotive sector will no doubt be THE driving market and it is expected to absorb the global capacity - see the report Power SiC 2018: Materials, Devices and Applications by Yole Développement. Yole's question for 2019 is whether the SiC supply chain (from materials to modules) is ready?

GaAs is the material that to my mind is in second place. GaAs experienced a roller coaster ride in 2018: from the hype at the beginning of the year with the adoption by Apple of GaAs based VCSELs in its iPhone X for 3D sensing applications in late 2017, to the reduction of the business outlook of Lumentum and IQE at the end of the year due to the reduction of shipments to Apple.

Fortunately, GaAs is not limited to Apple. 5G PA is expected to provide a stable market for GaAs, while Android platforms are exploring the 3D sensing market and Lidar will gradually consume increasing amounts of GaAs wafer, as indicated in the report on our latest analysis, GaAs Wafer and Epiwafer Market: RF, Photonics, LED and PV Applications.

Then there is GaN - GaN the material that has inspired so much expectation. GaN on SiC, GaN on Si, GaN on GaN or even GaN on diamond, different technology platforms are heading for different applications: 5G infrastructure, fast charger, wireless charging... (cite GaN power report).

As it is well known, the device performance is not only determined by the chip but also its packaging. The development of compound semiconductor based devices are accompanied by tremendous effort at the packaging level and frequently associated with cutting edge technologies: silver sintering is adopted by SiC modules; embedded die packaging is being used for GaN power devices... Packaging plays and will continue to play an essential role.

Hong Lin, PhD, Senior Technology and Market Analyst, Compound Semiconductors
Yole Développement