What is Indium Phosphide?

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July 17, 2015

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Many of us in the know of the semiconductor business are certainly aware of the benefits of silicon and gallium arsenide as semiconducting wafers for various electronic uses, from computers to smartphones to solar calculators to solar panels to provide electricity to a business, home or parking structure.Silicon certain has widespread use due to its easy availability and cheap cost, but gallium arsenide has found its part in the marketplace because of its better conductive power and better reliability - though it is more expensive to produce. However, as many devices and electronic systems continue to gain speed, even these stand-bys are coming up short, as a need for something better is becoming in higher demand.Our smartphones and tablets, for example, continue to evolve and add memory and speed without increasing their sizes. Battery life is getting better, the need for smooth-streaming video over a Wi-Fi connection is becoming more necessary, and faster and faster memory chips ae becoming more the norm. Where gallium arsenide and silicon fall short is where indium phosphide (InP) takes over.Indium phosphide is a semiconducting material similar to GaAs and silicon, but is very much a niche product for several reasons. First, it’s very effective at developing very high speed processing, but is not as effective at lower speeds. Why? Cost – it is more expensive even than GaAs because of the great lengths to gather and develop the ingredients. Third, InP is very brittle as a substance, and the fourth reason is because wafers cannot be produced in large sizes.Indium phosphide, however, can be well used for laser diodes and virtually any electronic device that require high speed or high power due to great electron velocity. If you in the market for a quality substrate, do not go to sleep on indium phosphide, as it has its uses, but you need to be careful about how you use it; do your research and consult with semiconducting experts to discuss your goals and expectations of your electronics and whether InP would be the right choice for you. There is a trade-off when you consider InP compared to GaAs or silicon. It is a good idea to understand whether the trade-offs are worth it based on what you expect your electronics to do.

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