As one of 5G semiconductor manufacturers, Xiamen Powerway Advanced Material Co., Ltd. can offer compound semiconductor materials with unique advantages in the physical properties, and the 5g compound semiconductor market of PAM-XIAMEN is enlarging. The semiconductor materials have experienced three stages of development:
- the first stage is group IV semiconductors represented by silicon and germanium;
- the second stage is group III-V compound semiconductors represented by GaAs and InP. Among the group III-V compound semiconductors, the GaAs has mature technology and is mainly used in communications;
- the third stage is mainly semiconductor materials with wide bandgap represented by SiC and GaN. The silicon material has mature technology and low cost, but its physical properties limit its application in optoelectronics, high frequency and high power devices, and high temperature resistant devices.
1. Advantages of Compound Semiconductors in Physical Properties
In short, compare to silicon material, compound semiconductor materials have unique advantages in characteristics, such as electron migration rate, critical breakdown electric field, and thermal conductivity.
Dominated by silicon, the demand for compound semiconductors in the radio frequency, power and etc. is increasing rapidly. At present, more than 95% of the global chips and devices use silicon as the base material. Due to the great cost advantage of silicon materials, silicon will still occupy a dominant position in the field of various discrete devices and integrated circuits in the future. However, the unique compound semiconductor properties make them perform better in the fields of radio frequency, optoelectronics, and power devices.
2. Compound Semiconductor Materials from 5G Semiconductor Manufacturers
The compound semiconductor substrates play a more and more important role in the 5th Generation application. The 5G semiconductor demand is growing with the development and update of technology. Taking the GaAs and GaN compound semiconductor fabrication for example as follows: 5G semiconductor chip makers usually choose gallium arsenide dominated in the radio frequency of sub-6G mobile phones in the future, and compound semiconductor gallium nitride(GaN) will make great progress in 5G semiconductor chips and consumer fast charging.
2.1 GaAs Dominates Sub-6G 5G Mobile Phone Radio Frequency
Specifically, GaAs occupies a dominant position in 5G mobile phone radio frequency and optoelectronics. GaAs is the most mature compound semiconductor. It has a higher saturated electron velocity and electron mobility, making it suitable for high-frequency applications; it has lower noise during high-frequency operation. At the same time, because GaAs has a higher breakdown voltage than Si, gallium arsenide compound semiconductor processing is more suitable for high-power applications.
For all these characteristics, in the 5G era of sub-6G, gallium arsenide will be the main material for mobile phone radio frequency devices in power amplifiers and radio frequency switches. Moreover, GaAs is the direct energy gap material, so optoelectronic devices such as VCSEL lasers can be made. Driven by applications, such as data center optical modules, mobile phone front VCSEL 3D sensing, and rear LiDAR lidar, optoelectronic devices are another important driving factor for the growth of gallium arsenide semiconductor in 5G.
2.2 GaN’s Great Development in 5G Macro Base Station Radio Frequency PA
Compared with the semiconductor materials of Si and GaAs, GaN and SiC are both wide-bandgap compound semiconductor wafers, which have the characteristics of high breakdown electric field strength, high saturated electron drift speed, high thermal conductivity, and low dielectric constant. The characteristics of low loss and high switching frequency are suitable for fabricating electronic devices with high frequency, high power, small volume and high density.
GaN material from 5G semiconductor manufacturers is biased towards the field of microwave devices, high frequency and small power (less than 1000V) and lasers. Compared with silicon LDMOS (lateral double diffused metal oxide semiconductor technology) and GaAs solutions, GaN devices can provide higher power and bandwidth. GaN chips will make a leap in power density and packaging every year and can be better adapted to Massive MIMO technology. Compound semiconductor epitaxy of GaN HEMT (High Electron Mobility Field Effect Transistor) has become an important technology for 5G macro base station power amplifiers.
At present, the compound semiconductor epitaxial wafer – GaN on macro base stations mainly uses SiC substrates (GaN on SiC). Because the silicon carbide is used as substrate, and GaN offered by PAM-XIAMEN has small lattice mismatch rate, thermal mismatch rate and high thermal conductivity. The high-quality GaN epitaxial layer can be easier to grow, meeting the high-power applications of 5G macro base stations.
The fast-charging market for consumer electronics is another fast-growing field of GaN. Compared with silicon-based power devices, GaN can greatly reduce the size of mobile phone chargers. Consumer electronics-grade fast charging mainly uses silicon-based substrates (SiC on Si).
Although it is difficult to grow a high-quality GaN epitaxial layer on a silicon substrate, the cost is much lower than that of SiC substrate. Meanwhile, it can meet the small power requirements, e.g. mobile phone charging. With Android manufacturers and third-party supporting manufacturers successively launching related products, 5G semiconductor manufacturers turn to produce the GaN wafers for consumer electronics. In the field of optoelectronics, due to the unique properties of wide band gap and blue excitation, GaN has obvious competitive advantages in high-brightness LEDs, lasers and other applications.