Compound semiconductors offer significant operational efficiency over the traditional silicon-based semiconductors.
FREMONT, CA: With increased challenges involved in reducing the size of conventional silicon-based semiconductors, researchers were motivated to find alternative solutions. As a result, compound semiconductors emerged, which mark the advent of next-generation semiconductors. Compound semiconductors operate much faster than silicon-based and include a number of other properties that enable ultra-high performance. While the widespread availability and commercially applications led to the popularity of silicon, modern semiconductor manufacturers are eyeing high-level performance that can be achieved via compound semiconductors.
As the name suggests, compound semiconductors are made up of two or more elements. One of the major advantages of a compound semiconductor is that it can have a wide range of combinations of elements. The range of possible combinations can form binary, tertiary as well as quaternary alloys. The electrons in compound semiconductors travel much faster than those in silicon, thereby allowing high-speed processing. Moreover, compound semiconductors function at a lower voltage, generate microwaves, provide resistance against heat, and can emit and sense light.
Crucial for high-speed data transfer, compound semiconductors operate at much higher frequencies as compared to silicon-based. Thus, compound semiconductors will be especially useful for data transfer over 5G networks. The new type of semiconductors can also handle higher power levels than silicon with lower power wastage, which will be a crucial advantage for electric vehicles. These advantages have led to significant growth in the compound semiconductor market. According to a report, the silicon market is expanding at 2-3 percent CAGR. On the other hand, the compound semiconductor market experiences growth rates of typically 12-15 percent CAGR, based on the application.
The above features clearly outweigh the applications of compound semiconductors over the traditional silicon-based semiconductors. Further advancements in technology and reduction in the cost of manufacturing will place the ball in the court of compound semiconductors.