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Compound semiconductors substrates market to reach $1bn by 2010

July 6, 2010

Thanks largely to Yole Developpement’s David Jourdan, in Lyon, France, it was great to be a part of Yole’s latest seminar on the compound semiconductors substrates market.

According to Yole, in 2010, the compound semiconductors substrates market will reach a size of $1 billion, with only 1.14 percent of the overall semicon processed surface.

Presenting the general conclusions and perspectives, Dr Philippe Roussel, project manager Compound Semiconductors, Yole said that compound materials are now well established in the semiconductor world. Their intrinsic properties such as wide bandgap, thermal conductivity, voltage breakdown capability, electronic mobility, etc., are offering key added value that cannot be proposed by silicon.

However, silicon is still in the race where CS devices are installed, such as:
* high frequency silicon transistors above 20 GHz and over are under development in many places.
* blue/white LED for which people are trying to grow GaN epilayers on large diameter silicon wafers (6 inch and more).
* power electronics — using technologies such as super junction and/or trench gate approach, silicon is able to offer very low power loss characteristics, always benefitting from large diameter possibility.

He added that the only way to make CS materials a success story for a long time and to secure attractive revenues is to increase the wafer size while decreasing price.

Further, new CS materials are now in pre-production, offering enhanced performance in different ways. Some of these are:

* Al nitride (AlN): It offers a very interesting capability for manufacturing UV LED sources. The first two-inch single crystal wafers are now availabe in the market and the teechnology is improving on a regular basis.
* Zinc oxide (ZnO): Native or epitaxial ZnO offers a perfect lattice matching to grow the GaN based blue or white LEDs. Small diameter wafers are already available and wider epiwafers are under consideration by LED makers.
* Diamond: It is also under investigation. So far, only small pieces of single crystal diamonds have been produced. However, polycrystal diamond is fully available and first demonstrators of RF or power devices have been exhibited.

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