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21 July 2008


Fab upgrades shift GaAs substrate demand from 4-inch to 6-inch

Merchant demand for 4-inch material will decline by over 20% by 2009 as demand shifts to 6-inch material, which will grow from 63% of the total market revenue in 2007 to 76% in 2012, according to market research firm Strategy Analytics in its report ‘Markets for SI GaAs Substrates: 2007-2012’.

Strategy Analytics estimates that demand for semi-insulating (SI) GaAs bulk substrates grew 5% year-on-year in 2007, with demand for GaAs devices being driven primarily by cellular handset and other wireless markets. The overall SI GaAs substrate market will continue to grow at a CAAGR (compound annual average growth rate) of 5%, with merchant demand accounting for 95% by 2012.

Strategy Analytics is forecasting that year-on-year substrate demand will grow 7% this year, increasing to 9% for 2009. However, demand for bulk substrates will vary by growth technology, predicts Asif Anwar, director of the GaAs service at Strategy Analytics. “In addition to the move to six-inch diameters, overall demand for SI GaAs bulk substrates is driven by HBT (heterojunction bipolar transistor) device production, which will ensure dominance of VGF (vertical gradient freeze) and VB (vertical Bridgman) substrates. This also means that demand for LEC (liquid encapsulated Czochralski) bulk substrates will decline for the period through 2012.”

“Industry consolidation over the past 12-18 months will mean that customers for bulk substrates will have greater buying power,” observes Stephen Entwistle, VP of the Strategic Technologies Practice. “It will be even more important for the bulk substrate suppliers to develop and maintain strategic relationships with major users such as [GaAs epiwafer and device makers] IQE, Kopin, RFMD, Skyworks and TriQuint.”

*Strategy Analytics also estimates that the SI GaAs epitaxial substrate market grew in area by 7% in 2007, split almost evenly between substrates processed by metal-organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) and molecular beam epitaxy (MBE).

IQE’s acquisitions of the epiwafer foundries MBE Technology Pte Ltd in Singapore and Emcore’s Electronic Materials & Device division in Somerset, NJ, USA in second-half 2006 propelled the firm to the number-one position as a merchant supplier of SI GaAs epitaxial material. However, Strategy Analytics believes that RF Micro Devices of Greensboro, NC will continue to be the world’s largest producer of epitaxial substrates.

Volume demand for SI GaAs epitaxial substrates will continue to be driven by increasing GaAs content in multi-mode and multi-band markets, reckons Strategy Analytics, forecasting that the total market for SI GaAs epitaxial substrates will grow at a CAAGR of 5% through 2012.

See related items:

Compound semiconductor substrate market to top $1bn by 2009-2010

AXT grows 31% as SI GaAs market share passes 20%

SI GaAs epi market to grow at 8% through 2011

Search: SI GaAs substrates GaAs epiwafers HBT VGF LEC MOCVD MBE IQE