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WBG market update: GaN, SiC market set for growth

Posted: 03 Aug 2015     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Yole Developpement  wide band gap  WBG  SiC  GaN 

According to the latest date from Yole Developpement (Yole), the wide band gap (WBG) market is looking up. WBG companies are slowly but surely reshaping the industry and speed up market uptake with numerous strategic mergers and acquisitions (Cree, Infineon Technologies) and the development of disruptive solutions.

In its latest technology and market analysis entitled "GaN & SiC for power electronics applications," the "More than the Moore" company highlights the different strategies defined by the leaders. Infineon Technologies ensures the development of its WBG activities with the introduction of a new gallium nitride (GaN) segment: the company acquired International Rectifier in January 2015. Few months later, Cree announced the willingness to spin out its power and RF activities and acquired the US-based company APEI to strengthen its position in SiC based power electronics. Yole also lists huge investments that have been done by the WBG companies. Latest examples are: Exagan, which raised $ 6.5 million in first-round financing, to produce high-speed power switching devices on 200mm wafers, based on GaN technologies; and Transphorm with its $70 million investment round led by global investment firm KKR.

WBG companies are so moving in the right direction to overcome the remaining technical challenges and confirm their confidence in these new solutions.

WBG market segmentation

So far, the WBG market has not grown as fast as people in the business have hoped. The four barriers to WBG device adoption remain: high cost at the device level, reliability, multi-sourcing, integration.

Many R&D programmes have been launched in recent years and some prototypes have demonstrated that the cost of the Bill of Materials (BOM) can be lower at the system level when using WBG devices. To overcome reliability challenges, ROHM and Cree have announced new Silicon Carbide (SiC) device generations or platforms with enhanced, more stable, specifications. SiC and GaN devices are also going through reliability tests to lower their adoption risk.

GaN device market size

"Numerous companies have now developed SiC MOSFETs, including Cree, Rohm, ST, Mitsubishi and GE" said Hong Lin, technology & market analyst at Yole. And she explained: "This means end users are better able to multi-source these devices. By contrast, there's a limited number of suppliers in the GaN market. In coming years, new entrants like Exagan and TSMC will provide extra sourcing options. Infineon and Panasonic also announced in 2015 that they would establish a dual-sourcing relationship for normally-off 600V GaN power devices."

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