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Spin transport electronics or spintronic devices exploit the intrinsic property of electron spin and its associated magnetic moment, in addition to its fundamental electronic charge. In recent years, there has been a lot of excitement generated by materials called magnetic semiconductors due to their potential application in spintronic devices. These materials not only exhibit ferromagnetism, but also several useful semiconductor properties as well. When doped with manganese (Mn), GaN becomes a magnetic semiconductor at room-temperature.

Spin Transistors

Made from magnetic semiconductors, these transistors rely on the ability of electrons to naturally exhibit one of two states of spin to store information. One advantage over conventional silicon transistors is that these spin states can be detected and altered without necessarily requiring the application of an electric current. This in turn allows for the design of much smaller but even more sensitive detection hardware, unlike the current ones which rely on noisy amplifiers to detect the charges in data storage devices. In short, these devices are cheap, can store more data in less space and consume less power. A second advantage of the spin transistor is that the spin of an electron is effectively permanent if undisturbed, so it can be used as means of non-volatile solid state storage that is operationally cost effective since it does not require the constant application of current to refresh the memory state.

Quantum Computers

This is the next frontier of high performance computing. Breakthroughs can be expected from the progress made in quantum computing-on-chip, cryogenic GaN CMOS operation of quantum computers, and the use of nitrogen vacancy centers in Gen3+ nitride technology as robust qubits. Another major strength of the GaN technology is its unique ability to operate in both very high and very low temperature environments–with the latter being highly relevant for quantum computing applications.

Autonomous EV & Power

Autonomous Driving

Compared with silicon devices, GaN devices emit the laser signal at higher speed and create a 360-degree three-dimensional panorama by the laser/LiDAR system, further improving autopilot, augmented reality, even the development of robots. According to Marklines data, IHS Markit estimates that by 2035, 12 million vehicles will have autonomous driving performance and 32 million vehicles will have electric propulsion systems. Both of these trends will increase the demand for power semiconductors. At the same time, silicon devices have reached their performance limits in the field of energy conversion, which have opened up a new market with great potential for the power GaN devices.

High Electron Mobility Transistor (HEMT)

While GaN HEMTs have recently been commercialized in the 15–650 V classes, new GaN devices are exploring even higher voltage power applications. Compared to Si and SiC, GaN HEMTs allow for higher switching frequency and have already seen wide adoptions in fast chargers, wireless charging, data centers, and electrified transportation. The higher frequency allows the miniaturization of passive components in power systems, enabling higher power density and conversion efficiency, as well as a reduction in system volume and weight.

Fast Charging

GaN can also be used as a power switching device. The faster the switching speed is, the smaller the power conversion system can be and the lower the power consumption can be. There is a power switching device in the mobile phone charger, which can convert 110V or 220V AC into 5V DC, and then charge the mobile phone. Now the popular small fast charger uses GaN power switching devices. At present, GaN improves the power conversion efficiency, reduces the heating of charging head and helps the miniaturization of charger through its high-frequency switching speed characteristics. Therefore, GaN charger has smaller volume under the same power and greater power under the same volume.

Wireless Charging

The global wireless charging market alone reached $10 billion in 2018, and the standard frequency used for wireless power transmission applications is 6.78 MHz, due to the availability of thin coils and shielding. Traditional MOSFET is not efficient at this frequency, and GaN based eGaN FET is an ideal device for this application. Industry leaders include Qualcomm, Intel, Broadcom, Samsung, Deutsche Telecom, Delphi and WiTricity to form an alliance (a4wp) to develop and commercialize high-frequency wireless power transmission standard (6.78 MHz) using highly resonant wireless power technology developed by an MIT team. At present, the applications of wireless power transmission include mobile phones, game controllers, laptops, tablet computers, medical implantable instruments and electric vehicles.


Medical Devices

GaN can be employed on wireless charging, therefore in addition to the consumer electronics known to all, some of the medical devices may also broaden their fields of usage via wireless charging. For instance, colonoscopy may be conducted by having the examinee swallow an X-ray capsule, and since medical images with 10x or even 100x super resolution can be provided, MRI is able to achieve accurate detection of cancer and disorder at earlier stage. Furthermore, since implantable medical products including cardiac pump, pacemaker, etc. no longer need external power supply, the probability of infection is significantly reduced, so patients would adopt early and their quality of life is enhanced.

Detection and Monitoring

Nitrides are more chemically inert than most other chemical sensor materials, but they have higher electron mobility. Therefore, it produces less noise, can monitor weak signals and has high sensitivity. The research team in University of Florida made the first batch of nitride sensors for NASA to monitor hydrogen fuel leakage in 2004. Later, car dealers used it to test the gas tank of hydrogen powered vehicles. The team and other researchers have developed nitride transistors that can detect DNA, pH changes, and breast cancer associated proteins. They use GaN-AlN combined transistor to monitor the glucose in the breath, so nitride electronic technology may become a non-invasive diabetes test. In addition, GaN based UV detectors are widely used in ozone monitoring, mercury lamp disinfection monitoring, pollution monitoring, laser detectors and flame sensing.

Aerial Disinfection & Food-safety

GaN (gallium nitride) and AlN (aluminum nitride) are fully miscible semiconductors with wide band gaps of 3.40 eV and 6.2 eV, respectively. AlGaN (aluminum gallium nitride) is a flexible composite material, and by tuning the material composition, can achieve specific bandgap widths (ranging from 3.4 eV like GaN, to 6 eV like AlN) where the ultraviolet light of the corresponding wavelength can be emitted. Hybrid/composite ultra wide direct bandgap semiconductors like AlGaN can have broad applications in UV luminescence, UV detection, optoelectronics, and high-power, high-frequency, high-temperature electronic devices. Under the shadow of the covid-19 pandemic, AlGaN based DUV (deep ultraviolet) LEDs with short working wavelength are ideal for water and air disinfection (and sterilization of personal protective articles). Specific wavelengths of ultraviolet light are very effective in killing pathogens without harming mammalian skin.


Light Emitting Diodes (LED)

Semiconductor lighting based on the GaN light emitting diode has high luminous efficiency, low power consumption, and a long life. In addition to traditional sapphire and silicon carbide (SiC) substrates, more companies are starting to use GaN substrate materials to produce white LEDs as well as the next generation of lighting products. The influx of business capital and development of efficient, electrically driven, solid-state light sources will enable new capabilities in lighting and display technologies­–making GaN the ideal platform for color-tunable devices, where it is possible to attain all three primary colors from GaN and the intensity ratios of these transitions can be controlled.

LED Displays

Consumer electronics like smartphones and wearables will inevitably transition from organic (OLED) to inorganic (mini/micro LED) displays because the performance is indisputable. Mini-LED is just a stepping stone towards micro-LED until a GaN platform emerges. Micro-LED screens built on a GaN platform will have higher resolution, lower power consumption and none of the disadvantages of traditional OLED/LCD such as burn-in, quality degradation over time, and damage from the folding/bending of flexible displays.


Recent improvements in material quality and contact technology for GaN-based materials have led to rapid progress in blue/green lasers, solar-blind optoelectronics, and other high-power/high temperature devices.

Solar Photovoltaics

The photoelectric conversion efficiency of solar energy is 17-18% for Si platforms, but in large scale production, we typically only see 13-15% efficiency. On a GaAs platform, this efficiency increases to 20-35%. However, due to the toxic composition of GaAs, its development and application has been limited by environmental protection and can only be a transitional product. GaN is one of the most promising developments in this space because of its high 80% conversion efficiency. However, due to the shortage and high price of GaN, the development and application of GaN solar energy has been greatly limited. When a GaN platform emerges and GaN solar PV is produced at scale, this market prospect will become very attractive.

RF Communications

Broadband 5G & 6G

High frequency and bandwidth are the core challenges in the development of mobile communication technology. The power amplifiers (PA) used in base stations are mainly based on silicon laterally diffused metal oxide semiconductor (LDMOS) technology. However, LDMOS is currently only useful in low frequency applications because the bandwidth of LDMOS power amplification decreases drastically as the frequency increases. Since 5G partly adopts higher frequency bands (e.g. 3.5 GHz, 26 GHz and 28 GHz) to achieve high speed transmission, and the manufacturing process of LDMOS used for the frequency band of 3.5 GHz is already approaching its limit, a GaN platform will be a suitable upgrade to existing 5G base stations, UHF microwave devices, and RF front-end modules in mobile phones. The construction of base stations will be one of the main driving forces for the growth of GaN market. About 1.5 million base stations will be built every year in the world. In the future, 5G networks will also supplement micro base stations with smaller coverage and more dense distribution, and the demand for GaN devices will increase significantly. GaN will also play a big role in future-proofing the eventual worldwide rollout of the 6G mobile communication system and beyond, supporting frequencies up to 700 GHz and 1 Terahertz as well as the application of power amplifiers which are used to increase input signal and bandwidth.

Remote / Satellite Communication

Remote communications equipment and instruments require high frequency, anti-radiation, anti-interference and high-power electronic/semiconductor devices. It is reported that the components/devices built on GaAs based second-generation semiconductor materials feel "out of reach" when it comes to all but the lowest echelons of their capability. Whereas Gen3+ semiconductor materials have the advantages of high power, high operating temperature, high breakdown voltage, high current density, and high frequency characteristics, which allow significant reduction of chip area and simplification of peripheral circuit design to achieve those goals.

Mobile Power

When there is no major breakthrough in mobile battery technology, fast charging has become an important means to solve the problem of battery life. Without increasing the size and weight of the device, GaN fast charging has greatly shortened the charging time. Smartphones have become an important downstream market of GaN powered chips.

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