Compound semiconductor materials are comprised of elements from more than two different groups in the periodic table. Compound semiconductors materials can be in binary form, ternary form and quaternary form among others. Depending upon the form types, compound semiconductor materials are available in a wide product range. On the basis of form type the compound semiconductor materials are classified as III-Vs, II-VIs and IV-IVs and sapphire among others.
III-IVs crystallize in zinc blend structure while II-VIs has crystalline structure. Compound semiconductors materials offer a wider choice of bandwidth than elemental semiconductors such as Si and Ge. Compound semiconductor materials offer higher electron mobility, wider band gap and lower thermal noise than elemental semiconductors. Compound semiconductor materials have ability to generate microwave signals.
The market for compound semiconductor materials was mainly driven by optoelectronics devices and wireless technologies. Optoelectronic devices exhibit a great demand for compound semiconductors. The rising demand for mobile and wireless devices has been the key factor in the growth of compound semiconductors in past few years. Compound semiconductor materials have properties such as wide temperature limits, high electron mobility and lower power consumption which are useful in electronic devices and equipment.
Compound semiconductor materials are also used in light emission applications such as light emitting diodes (LED) and lasers. Due to high resistance to radiation and heat compound semiconductor materials are used in space applications where they are incorporated with solar cells mounted on satellites. Compound semiconductor materials are sensitive to magnetism and are hence used in sensing applications. Compound semiconductor materials are also used in optical data storage devices. In spite of so many applications, fragile crystal structure compared to silicon and higher manufacturing costs associated with compound semiconductor devices is anticipated to hinder the growth of the market in the next few years.
Asia Pacific exhibited the greatest demand for compound semiconductor materials market in 2013. Asia Pacific is also anticipated to be the fastest growing market for compound semiconductor materials owing to huge demand from wireless technologies and optoelectronics market. China and Japan are the leading countries in terms of demand in this region.
Countries such as India, Taiwan and Korea are likely to offer huge opportunity for compound semiconductor materials market due to growing electronics and telecommunication industry. Asia Pacific was followed by North America. U.S. had the largest demand for compound semiconductor materials in this region. The demand is due huge market for wireless technologies, space applications and optoelectronic devices. In terms of demand, Europe exhibited the third-largest demand for compound semiconductor materials market in 2013.
Western European countries were the largest consumers of compound semiconductor materials in this region. Technological advancements in wireless technology coupled with solar cell industry have been driving force behind the growth of compound semiconductor materials market in this region. Rest of the World market had the smallest market share for compound semiconductor materials in past few years. However, the scenario in this region is anticipated to change owing to growing electronics and telecom industry coupled with increasing demand for power devices. Rest of the World is likely to show positive outlook for compound semiconductor materials over foreseeable future.
Some of the key manufacturers in the compound semiconductor materials market are Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., Cree Inc., Dow Corning Corporation, Galaxy Compound Semiconductors Inc., Momentive and Nichia Corporation among others.