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8 September 2009


Military spending and GaN adoption driving RF power semiconductor markets

Although spending on RF power semiconductors in wireless infrastructure markets has continued to stagnate, other markets – notably the military – are seeing increased activity, so the total available market for RF power semiconductors in 2009 should approach $1bn, according to a study by analyst firm ABI Research.

Also, gallium nitride – long seen as a promising new ‘material of choice’ for RF power semiconductors – is finally starting to gain some market traction. “Gallium nitride has markedly increased its market share in 2009 and is forecast to be a significant force by 2014,” notes director Lance Wilson. “It bridges the gap between two older technologies, exhibiting the high-frequency performance of gallium arsenide combined with the power handling capabilities of silicon LDMOS,” he adds. “It is now a mainstream technology which has achieved measurable market share and in future will capture a significant part of the market.”

The vertical market showing the strongest uptick in the RF power semiconductor business has been military, which Wilson describes as being “now a very significant market”. While the manufacturers of these devices are located in the major industrialized countries, the military market is now so global that end-equipment buyers can be from anywhere, he concludes.

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