Lux Research forecasts that by 2020 gallium nitride (GaN) costs will drop enough to become competitive with silicon based on performance. The company notes that Bulk GaN costs about $1,900 or more for a two-inch substrate, compared with only $25 to $50 for a far larger six-inch silicon substrate. However, GaN materials offer higher efficiencies than silicon, leading to greater energy savings in devices like power electronics, laser diodes, and light-emitting diodes (LEDs). According to Lux Research, by 2020, the drop in GaN prices will be enough to offset cost disadvantages in terms of the price-to-performance ratio.
“The future of bulk GaN is going to come down to how it faces off against silicon substrates,” said Pallavi Madakasira, Lux Research Analyst and the lead author of the report titled, “Price or Performance: Bulk GaN Vies with Silicon for Value in LEDs, Power Electronics and Laser Diodes.” “Bulk GaN wins in laser diodes and it can become relevant in LEDs and power electronics by boosting yield and performance.”