EDN – The diverging worlds of SiC and GaN semiconductors

“Gallium nitride (GaN) and silicon carbide (SiC) semiconductors are now in mass production and rapidly gaining market share. According to market research firm Yole, by the end of 2027, GaN and SiC devices will capture 30% of the power semiconductors market, replacing silicon MOSFETs and IGBTs.”

Stephen Oliver acknowledged that today, it’s mostly SiC, which has been ahead of GaN in production by a decade or even longer. “That means power design engineers are more familiar with it,” he said. “Additionally, it’s more of a single component, which means you can replace one for another.”

Oliver added that most SiC devices are available in three-pin packages, which makes them highly suitable for high-power, high-voltage applications. As a result, they are being widely used in wind turbines, solar inverters, railway locomotives, and trucks and buses. On the other hand, for GaN semiconductors, he sees 650-V and 700-V devices catering to anything ranging from 20-W cellphone chargers to 20-kW power supply applications. “Beyond that, SiC is the right choice.”