RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, – Cree, RF Micro Devices and Nitronex receive the star treatment in the latest issue of Compound Semiconductor.

The publication features the three companies in a story about the “push” for gallium nitride (or GaN) based radio frequency devices, where chances to capitalize on the growing cellular and wireless broadband markets such as WiMax beckon.

“With all three now set to plow greater effort and cash into pushing the technology at customers in the broadband wireless access and infrastructure sector, 2006 looks likely to go down in history as the turning point for GaN microelectronics,” the article says.

According to Nitronex, GaN chips will handle more heat, delivery energy more efficiently, handle more power and enable wireless providers to cut costs compared to current chips.

Citing Cree and RFMD as critical players in the sector, Compound Semiconductor said: “The success or otherwise of their GaN offerings may well determine the fate of the overall sector.”

According to the article, Cree and RFMD will become director competitors for the first time in the GaN segment.

Cree and RFMD are large, publicly traded companies. But privately held Nitronex, which utilizes technology licensed from North Carolina State University and is only seven years old, is not without resources, having closed recently on $22 million in new financing.

Its key advantage is its GaN-on-silicon technology, the article said.
GaN has long been touted as a “silicon killer” in the chip business.Nitronex, which has raised more than $81 million in venture capital, plans to launch two new product lines in 2007.

“Commercial customers like Nokia and Siemens will want more than one supplier,” the magazine quoted Kevin Linthicum, chief technology officer at Nitronex, as saying. “The GaN train is leaving the station and Cree and RFMD don’t want to be left behind.”

For details, see:

For an earlier look at the budding competition between RFMD and Cree, see: