Apple 3D sensors and LIDAR boost GaAs wafer demand


The market for GaAs substrates will see a 15% CAGR in volume between 2017 and 2023, says a report from Yole Développement (Yole). Photonics applications will grow at 37%.

Apple’s choice of  GaAs-based VCSELs for 3D sensing and the use of GaAs for LIDAR have ignited demand for GaAs wafers, reports Yole.

The  report, “GaAs Wafer & Epiwafer Market: RF, Photonics, LED and PV applications”, provides an overview of the GaAs wafer and epi wafer industry.

The report outlines market size and forecasts four markets: RF, Photonics, LED, and PV.

Photonics applications are driving the GaAs wafer and epiwafer market into a new era, says Yole.

 In 2018, GaAs RF business represents more than 50% of the GaAs wafer market. However, market growth has slowed down in the past couple years due to the handset market’s gradual saturation and shrinking die size.

“At Yole, we expect GaAs to remain the mainstream technology for sub-6 GHz instead of CMOS, owing to GaAs’ high power and linearity performance as required by carrier aggregation and MIMO technology,” says Yole’s  Hong Ling.

Since 2017, GaAs wafer has been particularly notable in photonics applications. When Apple introduced its new iPhone X with a 3D sensing function using GaAs-based lasers, it paved the way for a significant boost in the GaAs photonics market. GaAs wafers market segment for photonics applications should reach $150 million by 2023.

In 2017, Apple’s supplier Lumentum used IQE as its VCSEL epi supplier. This resulted in an almost 10x increase in IQE’s stock



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