Compound semiconductor substrates are maintaining their importance for the fabrication of various types of monolithic microwave integrated circuits (MMICs).
Although silicon technology (notably CMOS) is steadily advancing into some of the territory previously occupied by compound semiconductors there are many microwave systems for which the required performance levels can only be met by compound semiconductor MMICs. Engalco’s CS MMICs update report provides market data on microwave (0.5 to 30 GHz) MMICs fabricated using GaAs, GaN, InP, InGaP and SiGe into the following systems applications: defense (AESAs, EW); industrial, scientific and medical (ISM); Ka-band VSATs, Ku-band VSATs and microwave radio. Power amplifier MMICs and “non-power” MMICs are considered separately for all the market segments researched. Annual total market data are indicated for base year 2014 and for each forecast year to 2020. Geographic regions covered are Europe, North America and “rest of the world”. According to Terry Edwards, Senior Analyst and Executive Director at Engalco, total global markets were about $730M in 2014 increasing to $851M in 2020. Markets for GaAs-based MMICs remain strong, albeit increasingly impacted by competition from GaN mainly on the power amplifier side and SiGe BiCMOS for signal processing – notably for medium-to-high market volumes. The markets for most types of CS MMICs are well entrenched in AESAs, SATCOM (VSATs) and microwave radios. Most markets grow at least moderately, although the market for MMICs into microwave radios declines somewhat owing to the increasing impact of fiber optics for cellular network backhaul – to the detriment of microwave in this particular application.
A total of 50 players are identified and briefly profiled. Prominent amongst these: Analog devices (acquired Hittite Microwave in 2014), Custom MMIC, MACOM, METDA, Qorvo (RFMD/TriQuint merger), TowerJazz and UMS. These players serve major portions of the total markets. Leading firms are listed as “top 5” or top 10” appropriately.