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industry  GaN power electronics


was established in 2004 to commercialize RF power GaN technology.


The variations outlined so far reveal that there is much to consider in order to objectively assess the status of commercialization of GaN-on-silicon technology. At Venture-Q LLC, a provider of market reports, we have made such an assessment in a rigorous manner, and in the remainder of this article we will provide a high-level view of the commercial status of the GaN-on-silicon power industry. For all of the leading firms, we detail how close they are to commercializing their technology, and where they rank in relation to each other. Our findings represent the status of the market as of December 2012.


Figure 1.Analyst Venture-Q categorises the developers of GaN-on-silicon


technology into those operating in either open or closed markets; and those that develop products,or develop technologies


In many established and evolving industries some companies offer a license to access new or mature technologies. Although this may not be that prevalent in the III-V industry to date, it is a feature of the silicon industry – for example, IBM Microelectronics licensed its SiGe technology in the late 1990s.


In addition to these different types of models for commercialization, firms are differentiating themselves by either pursuing their goals single- handedly, or teaming up with others through business partnerships and joint ventures. The later option is commonly found in new technologies, with partnerships bringing together complementary resources and capabilities of two or more vendors. Two examples of this are: the Fuji-Furukawa partnership, formed for the commercialization of GaN MOSFET technology; and the joint venture between Fujitsu and Sumitomo’s Eudyna (now Sumitomo Electric Device Innovations, SEDI), which


At that point in time we believe that 23 vendors were engaged in the commercialization of high voltage GaN-on-silicon HEMTs, ICs, and modules for power conversion applications. Their activities range from patent filing activity to device design, fabrication, and packaging. Only those with development efforts directed towards technology commercialization are included in our vendor list, which implies that those pursuing exploratory research activities are omitted from our study. Additional exclusions include pure- play vendors of RF power GaN HEMTs. However, we do consider vendors that are now producing high-voltage GaN HEMTs on SiC and plan to make the transition to a silicon platform.


The types of GaN-on-silicon power devices that we consider include HEMTs, MOSFETs, and hybrid HEMT-MOSFET devices, while ICs include integration of GaN-only devices and both GaN and silicon devices. The makers of modules that we account for include those producing system-in- package and sub-system level modules, such as motor drives and power supplies.


Some of the features worth noting in Table 1 are: Efficient Power Conversion is the only vendor offering products in the open merchant market; there are only three vendors offering product in the closed merchant market – Transphorm, MicroGaN and RFMD; only two firms are providing foundry services (MicroGaN and RFMD); and only NXP and ON Semiconductor are engaged in collaborative developments with major R&D institutions. Another way of looking at this data is that, in 2012, only five vendors offered products and/or foundry services in the merchant market, with the remaining 18 vendors engaged in technology development – either in collaboration with R&D institutions, or within their internal R&D organizations.


Figure 2.Venture-Q has grouped 23 firms involved in GaN-on-silicon technology into a leading group of seven (red circles),a subsequent group of 8 (blue circles),and a trailing group of 8 (green circles)


36 www.compoundsemiconductor.net March 2013


Pecking order We have placed all 23 companies on a commercialization timeline (see Figure 2). Positions are determined by a number of technology and business related factors, which vary widely among vendors. The 23 firms can be divided into three groups: a leading group of seven vendors, which


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