SAN FRANCISCOThe market for gallium nitride (GaN) power management chips is expected to grow to $183.6 million in 2013 from virtually zero in 2010, according to market research firm iSuppli Corp. The firm said it expects most of this growth to occur in 2012 and 2013 as technology advancements reduce the cost of manufacturing.
The projected GaN growth is due to rapid growth expected in the the high-end server, notebook, mobile handset and wired communication segments, iSuppli (El Segundo, Calif.) said.
Marijana Vukicevic, principal analyst for power management at iSuppli, said the firm believes the stage is set for GaN growth because the use of silicon has reached its practical limits in power management semiconductors and there have been major breakthroughs in growing GaN layers on silicon.
"Power designers also want to develop more efficient systems and to update their high-voltage products to waste less electricity," Vukicevic said.
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But iSuppli said adoption of GaN technology for portable electronic applications in 2010 and 2011 will be slow due to the high cost of parts using the material. As the technology advances and the cost of manufacturing GaN technology drops in 2012 and 2013, the technology will begin to steal market share away from conventional MOSFETs, driver ICs and voltage regulator ICs, the firm said.
The first adoption of GaN devices most likely will be among servers, iSuppli predicted. Over the next three years, the bulk of device volume likely will be driven by notebooks, as the power savings and smaller form factor delivered by GaN will be in high demand, according to the firm.
ISuppli is offering a new report on the GaN market for sale through the firm's website.