Gallium arsenide monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) technology encompasses the discipline of semiconductor materials and devices, microwave circuit design, and fields and waves. GaAs MMIC are analog circuits that usually contains less than 10 transistors on a typical chip. Gallium arsenide (GaAs) is a well-established device technology used for many commercial and military systems. The unique features of GaAs as a semiconductor material makes it particularly suited to fabrication of high performance and high speed devices. The design of GaAs MMICs is characterized by the extensive use of computer aided design techniques.
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The primary advantages of GaAs MMIC as compared to the other microwave circuitry include small size, light weight, high reliability, multifunctional capability, low cost potential and broad bandwidth capacity. These devices mostly perform functions like microwave mixing, power amplification, low noise amplification and high frequency switching. MMICs remain vital in the RF or microwave industry with ever expanding applications. A GaAs MMIC consists of several active and passive components. GaAs has high electron mobility which enables high frequencies and fast switching performance. Like all integrated circuit technologies, MMIC technology has high non-recurring costs but minimal recurring (i.e., marginal) costs.
Need for significant improvement in a number of diverse technical areas in terms of low cost, small size, light weight, improved reliability and reproducibility as well as tolerance to heat and radiation for satellite applications are primary factors driving the global GaAs MMIC market. GaAs is used as a replacement for silicon because of its enhanced electronic properties. The use of GaAs is also crucial for communication devices to be compatible with 3G and 4G networks. GaAs MMICs lead the power, low noise and passive applications at microwave and will continue to do so in the near future.
The market is segmented on the basis of application and geography. On the basis of application, the global GaAs MMIC market is subdivided into military and defense, commercial and consumer applications. GaAs technology offers the only path to affordability for radar systems. There are many consumer targeted GaAs MMIC applications such as TV tuners, cellular phones, intrusion alarms, UHF & microwave amateur radio equipment and others. The conventional SAW filters used in television sets are replaced by GaAs. The GaAs MMIC have potential of major volume applications in HDTV receivers. They also have potential application in cellular radios, marine radar, and police radar because of their high reliability, low power consumption and low cost. For commercial purpose, it is used in high frequency instrumentation where wideband operation is needed. Instruments that benefit from GaAs MMIC include signal generator, frequency sweep generators, medical equipment’s, spectrum analyzer and others. Communication satellites use GaAs MMICs to increase functional capability, to reduce volume, weight and cost as well as to improve system reliability. GaAs MMICs are ideally suited for antenna array systems, as such systems provide high performance in either communication or radar applications. Such technology can be found in other consumer oriented and industrial electronic markets such as burglar alarm, collision avoidance radar and industrial processing. GaAs MMIC are widely used in low noise amplifiers of civil direct television receivers, high power cellular telephony amplifiers and cable network modems. On the basis of geographical region the market is subdivided into United States, EU, China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and others.
Some of the key players operating in the global GaAs MMIC market with most significant development are NXP Semiconductors N.V., Texas Instruments, Mini Circuits, Qorvo, Plextek RFI Ltd., Microwave Technology, Broadcom, Skyworks Solutions, Custom MMIC, Cree Incorporated, OSRAM Opto Semiconductors and Keysight Technologies among others.