1. Definition of a III-V semiconductor

III-V semiconductors are a subgroup of the compound semiconductor family consisting of at least two elements from the third and fifth group of the periodic table. Examples are: gallium arsenide (GaAs), indium phosphide (InP), gallium nitride (GaN) or aluminum gallium arsenide (AlGaAs). These materials have unique properties that make them useful in a large variety of electronic and optoelectronic applications, including solar cells, lasers, sensors, detectors and transistors.

The III-V designation refers to the fact that the materials are composed of atoms from group III (which includes boron, aluminum, gallium, and indium) and group V (which includes nitrogen, phosphorus, arsenic, and antimony) of the periodic table. Unlike elemental semiconductors such as silicon and germanium, which are composed of atoms from the same group. III-V semiconductors have important properties such as wider bandgap, higher breakdown voltage, and higher electron mobility. This  makes them indispensable  e. g. for energy-efficient high-speed / high power electronic devices and next generation solar cells.

In contrast,  the mainly used semiconductor silicon has excellent electrical properties only, making it ideal for use in electronic devices such as transistors and integrated circuits. However, this material has fundamental limitations, above all no capabilities regarding the generation of light needed for lasers and LEDs.

Hybrid silicon semiconductors combine the best of both worlds, with improved electrical and optical properties. They are made by integrating III-V semiconductors  with silicon, which allows for the formation of new types of structures that can be tailored to specific applications.

III-V semiconductors bring light, speed and efficiency  to the semiconductor world!

2. Compound semiconductors value chain

More information on the gallium-gallium arsenide value chain can be found in this pdf presentation and this presentation on the application of III-V semiconductors.

3. Additional images

OFDM_camera module
Silicon wafers and delivery package

4. List of abbreviations

You can download the latest version from the Eurometaux website: