Why Are People Optimistic About GaN Gallium Nitride Application in 5G
GaN is a semiconductor material of third generation with a large forbidden-band width. It has superior properties compared to first-generation Si or second-generation GaAs.
GaN devices, due to the large band gaps and high thermal conductivity of GaN, can operate above 200 degC temperatures, allowing them to carry a higher energy density, and with greater reliability. A larger forbidden band and dielectric break-down electric field can reduce the on resistance of the GaN device. This is good for improving the overall energy efficiency.
GaN semiconductors can therefore be designed to have a higher bandwidth, a higher amplifier gain and efficiencies, as well as smaller dimensions, all in keeping with the "tonality" of the industry.
GaN, the semiconductor material used in base stations for power amplifiers, is perfect for 5G. Gallium nitride, gallium arsenide and indium-phosphide are common semiconductor materials used in radio frequency applications.
GaN devices are more powerful than processes with high frequency, such as indium phosphide and gallium arsenide. GaN also has better frequency characteristics than power processes like LDCMOS or silicon carbide. GaN devices must have a higher instantaneous bandwith. This can be achieved by using carrier aggregation, preparing higher frequency carriers and other techniques.
Gallium nitride can achieve higher power density than silicon or any other device. GaN has a higher energy density. GaN's small size is an advantage when it comes to achieving a particular power level. Smaller devices can reduce device capacitance, making it easier to design higher bandwidth systems. Power Amplifiers (PA) are a critical component of RF circuits.
Currently, power amplifiers are mainly comprised of a gallium-arsenide power amplifier and a complementary metallic oxide semiconductor power amplifier (CMOS PA), where GaAs PA has been the standard. But with 5G coming, GaAs devices won't be able maintain high integration in such high frequencies.
GaN will be the next hot topic. GaN, as a wide-bandgap semiconductor, can withstand greater operating voltages. This results in higher power densities and higher temperatures, leading to high power densities, low power consumption and high frequency.
Qualcomm President Cristiano Amon said at the Qualcomm 5G/4G Summit that the first 5G smartphones will debut during the first half and end of the holiday season. According to reports 5G technology should be up to 100 times more efficient than 4G networks. This will allow users to reach Gigabits per second and reduce latency.
As well as the increase in the number and density of basestations, there will be a significant increase in RF devices. As a result, in comparison with the 3G/4G eras, 5G devices will have dozens or even hundreds of times the number of RF transceiver units. Therefore, cost control and silicon-based GaN technology has a large cost advantage. It is possible to achieve a market breakthrough using silicon-based GaN technologies.
Commercialization of any new semiconductor technology is difficult, and this can be seen in the evolution of the last two generations. GaN, which is also in this stage at the moment, will cost more to civilians because of the increased demand for silicon-based devices, the mass production and process innovations, etc.
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