LONDON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Technavio’s latest report on the global power amplifier market provides an analysis on the most important trends expected to impact the market outlook from 2016-2020. Technavio defines an emerging trend as a factor that has the potential to significantly impact the market and contribute to its growth or decline.
Sunil Kumar Singh, a lead analyst from Technavio, specializing in research on embedded systems sector, says, “The global power amplifier market is expected to grow at a CAGR of close to 14% during the forecast period. The development of multi-band and multi-mode mobile computing devices that incorporate wireless communication systems, such as Bluetooth, wireless local area network, near-field communication, LTE, and GPS, has led to a higher demand for power amplifiers. This is primarily because amplifiers are compatible with higher frequency bands, and are considered ideal for advanced RF requirements in new mobile devices.”
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The top three emerging trends driving the global power amplifier market according to Technavio hardware and semiconductor research analysts are:
- Increase in wafer size
- Adoption of CMOS technology by start-ups
- Growing need for high-speed amplifiers in the defense sector
Increase in wafer size
The global semiconductor industry has witnessed a shift in wafer sizes over the last 40 years. The size of the gallium arsenide (GaAs) wafers has increased from being 50 mm to 150 mm, as it reduces the cost of manufacturing by at least 20%-25%. The semiconductor industry is now prevailing at 150 mm wafer for manufacturing ICs and power amplifiers. The use of 150 mm wafers is anticipated to continue till late into the forecast period due to heavy investments by semiconductor manufacturers such as WIN Semiconductors toward the upgradation and new construction of fabs for this wafer size.
The industry is moving toward the development 200 mm wafer technology and its pilot production is expected toward the end of 2018. Stanford researchers are working on making the production process of 200 mm (8 inch) GaAs wafers less expensive, so that they can directly compete with silicon (Si) wafers that are available at a much lower price in the market. This will create demand for wafer fabrication equipment including mask inspection equipment during the forecast period.
Adoption of CMOS technology by start-ups
Power amplifiers are required for communications in smartphones and many IoT connected products. Start-ups like ACCO Semiconductor are increasingly adopting complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) technology. The company has raised USD 35 billion to invest in this technology to improve its CMOS-based RF power amplifier business. The company is relying on the growing opportunity for RF power amplifiers for cell phones and IoT products by focusing on power amplifiers manufactured using CMOS process technology.
The vast majority of power amplifiers are built using silicon germanium (Si-Ge) or GaAs technology rather than CMOS. However, CMOS-based power amplifiers will help achieve efficient performance at low cost. Therefore, the adoption of CMOS technology will increase during the forecast period.
Growing need for high-speed amplifiers in the defense sector
The military sector needs more efficient use of spectrum and more mobile devices to be connected. Therefore, it has a requirement of high-speed power amplifiers. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has made some progress in this regard with the Terahertz (THz) Electronics Program. Northrop Grumman, an aerospace and defense technology company developed solid state power amplifier and the traveling wave tube amplifier which are the only two products with terahertz frequency.
“THz frequency-based power amplifiers can be used in a lot of applications such as high-resolution security imaging, high data rate communications, collision-avoidance radar, and remote detection systems for dangerous chemicals and explosives, where high-speed amplifiers are a necessity for the faster function of these devices,” says Sunil.
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