Designers of solid-state military radar systems have long been faced with a limited choice of transistors capable of providing adequate output power at high frequencies. But a list that once included only silicon bipolars and GaAs MESFETs has expanded in recent years to include silicon LDMOS and silicon carbide (SiC) transistors, with gallium nitride quickly gaining ground in high-power pulsed radar applications. In fact, according to a recent study by market research specialist ABI Research (www.abiresearch.com), GaN devices are quickly gaining traction among military electronics users.
As ABI Research Director Lance Wilson notes: "GaN has markedly increased its market share in 2009 and is forecast to be a significant force by 2014. It bridges the gap between two older technologies, exhibiting the high-frequency performance of gallium arsenide combined with the power-handling capabilities of silicon LDMOS." According to the firm's research, the greatest demand for power RF semiconductors comes from military markets, with the total market size expected to exceed $1 billion in 2009.