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Indium in Compound Semiconductor Manufacturing: A Promising Future

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  • Indium Corporation
  • Indium
  • Some leading assembly materials for optoelectronics, radio frequency, and power electronics devices are:

    • gallium arsenide (GaAs)
    • gallium nitride (GaN)
    • and several indium-based materials, such as:
      • indium phosphide (InP)
      • indium gallium phosphide (InGaP)

    These materials offer properties that are not available in silicon, the reference material for semiconductors. The promise of sustained performance and availability comes from three important angles:

    TECHNOLOGY

    While GaN dominates the compound semiconductor industry in market share, indium-based III-V compound semiconductors appear to offer a few advantages of their very own, as can be seen from data in the current Internet Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS).

    The ITRS, whose latest available edition is from 2013, contains a section on radio frequency and analog/mixed signal technologies, which discusses the availability of manufacturing solutions for various transistor (HEMT, HBT) and material (GaAs, GaN, InP, InGaP, etc.) technologies.

    In particular, the roadmap tables show that manufacturable solutions are not known for GaN HEMT beyond 2018. In contrast, the competing InP-based technology is known through 2021. InP also has an advantage when compared to the GaAs PHEMT platform.  While manufacturable solutions are known for GaN, they lag behind similar efforts for InP, where manufacturing solutions exist, and are being optimized.

    In other words, InP appears to be ahead when compared to other compound semiconductor materials, and it has a longer runway into the future when it comes to manufacturing.

    AVAILABILITY

    Indium is very abundant – more so than silver. And, it is so available that prices have recently been falling. More promise!

    Materials prices fluctuate due to several factors, including supply, demand, processing capacity, and many more. Indium supply and availability has remained dependable since its commercialization, 80 years ago. And, Indium Corporation’s vertical integration assures you that we have the capacity and are in intimate contact with the entire sourcing process, from mining, to refining, to final fabrication.

    QUALITY

    Indium Corporation is a preferred, vertically-integrated indium supplier since our founding in 1934 because of our Quality Systems. This differentiates Indium Corporation as a company because not just our material users, but these user’s customers need assurance that the entire supply chain is robust and reliable.

    If you have any questions, please contact me.