MBE becomes critical for high quality GaAs and GaN epitaxy – An interview with Veeco


Ganesh Sundaram

Vice President of Applied Technology




Taguhi Yeghoyan, PhD

Senior Technology & Market Analyst, Semiconductor Equipment



Ali Jaffal, PhD

Technology & Market Analyst, Semiconductor Substrates & Materials

Ganesh Sundaram

Vice President of Applied Technology

Ganesh Sundaram is currently Vice President of Applied Technology at Veeco. He currently has product line responsibility for Veeco’s Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) products, and R&D responsibilities for the molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) products.

Prior to this role, he held a variety of positions ranging from scientific to product management at Ultratech, Cambridge Nanotech, Schlumberger Technologies, Micrion Corporation, and Texas Instruments. His industrial experience encompasses processing of Si and compound semiconductors, lithography, particle beam technology, metrology, and ALD and MBE thin film applications.

Ganesh Sundaram received his Ph.D in Condensed Matter Physics from Oxford University, where he specialized in low temperature, high magnetic field measurements of low dimensional semiconductors.


Taguhi Yeghoyan, PhD

Senior Technology & Market Analyst, Semiconductor Equipment

Taguhi’s mission is to daily follow the semiconductor industry and its evolution. Based on her expertise in this field, especially on the semiconductor supply chain (processes, materials, equipment, and related applications), Taguhi produces technology & market products and is engaged in relevant custom projects. Prior to Yole Group, she worked in world-class European research centers and laboratories, including imec (Belgium), LMI (Lyon, France) and LTM at CEA Leti (Grenoble, France). All along her past experiences, Taguhi has authored or co-authored two patents and more than ten papers. She has graduated from Wroclaw University of Technology (Poland) and University of Lyon (France). Taguhi also completed her PhD in material science from the University of Lyon (France).

Ali Jaffal, PhD

Technology & Market Analyst, Semiconductor Substrates & Materials

He is deeply engaged in the development of dedicated collection of compound semiconductors market & technology products.  Previously, he worked at CEA-Leti (France) as a research engineer. His mission was focused on the design, growth and clean room processing of GaAs semiconductor nanowires for Visible-Infrared photodetectors. During its PhD, Ali deeply investigated the epitaxy (MBE) on InP nanowires-quantum dots dedicated to telecom applications. Ali (co-)authored numerous scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals and a patent on III-V nanowires at CEA-Leti. He also delivered several presentations and was invited to numerous seminars within national and international conferences. Ali Jaffal obtained his master’s degree and PhD in material science and optics from INSA (Lyon, France).

Compound semiconductor substrates like SiC, GaN, GaAs, and InP are making significant strides in diverse markets. These encompass automotive, consumer electronics, telecommunications, industrial sectors, military applications, and medical fields.

In its Status of Compound Semiconductor industry 2024 report, Yole Group expects the compound semiconductor substrates market to grow from $1.28 billion in 2023 to $3.33 billion in 2029, with a double-digit CAGR of 17%. Each compound semiconductor material boasts distinct performance advantages tailored to its specific application within these markets. One key parameter that holds the advantage of compound semiconductor comes from high quality epitaxy where the III-V epitaxial layers are deposited in-fab by either MOCVD or MBE.

MBE, in particular, is making good progress in gaining ground in the compound semiconductor market. GaAs substrates for photonics and RF applications are leading the MBE market in 2023 while GaN-on-Si for power applications is set to gain traction from 2023 and beyond as this specific application requires excellent epitaxy growth and MBE can achieve that.

MBE is a type of physical vapor deposition, characterized by lower deposition temperature while still offering excellent deposit quality. Despite this advantage, the MBE in-fab adoption is held back by sophisticated equipment morphology with only two relevant vendors while others operate more in the research labs.

The situation is currently changing with more MBE equipment adopted in fabs, as Yole Group’s analysts report in the Wafer Fab Equipment Market Monitor, published quarterly. Only in 1 year, the overall MBE sales increased +18%, from $52.1 million in 2022 to $61.5 million in 2023.

In CY2023, the market leadership is weighted towards Veeco from USA, offering a wide range of wafer processing systems and followed closely by the French, player RIBER, focusing on MBE technology. In 2029, Yole Group expects the MBE systems revenue to reach $100 million, 5.6% CAGR24-29 with a cumulative revenue of $522 million generated for the same period.

For a deeper insight into Veeco’s initiatives and future plans, Ali Jaffal, Technology & Market Analyst, Semiconductor Substrates & Materials and Taguhi Yeghoyan, Senior Technology & Market Analyst, Semiconductor Equipment, at Yole Group, had the pleasure of interviewing Ganesh Sundaram, Vice President of Applied Technology.

Taguhi Yeghoyan (TY): Could you introduce yourself and your company?

Ganesh Sundaram (GS): Veeco is an innovative manufacturer of semiconductor process equipment. Our proven molecular beam epitaxy (MBE), ion beam, laser annealing, lithography, metal organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD), and single-wafer etch and clean technologies play an integral role in the fabrication and packaging of advanced semiconductor devices. With equipment designed to optimize performance, yield, and cost of ownership, Veeco holds leading technology positions in the markets we serve. We pride ourselves on close collaboration with our customers to help them overcome technical and cost barriers to make it possible to convert novel materials into high-yielding device performance at production volumes.

TY: Could you explain Veeco’s activities in the space of MBE technology as well as your differentiators?

GS: Veeco has 30 years of experience in developing molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) films and equipment for the microelectronics industry. With our breadth of materials experience, Veeco first views MBE from a material science perspective, then from a deposition equipment perspective.

What type of material needs to be used for which applications?

This material science knowledge then allows us to enable the customer by providing innovative hardware solutions for high-quality films. Veeco has experience with and systems in all the markets that use MBE films, including quantum dots, wide-bandgap semiconductors, photonics, long-wave infrared (IR) sensors, and high-electron-mobility transistors (HEMT).

One of Veeco’s core advantages is that we can design systems for our customers to develop process for specific materials on an R&D scale that can then be scaled to production MBE systems that have high throughput, thus giving our customers high-quality epitaxial films at a low cost of ownership.

Veeco’s GEN20™ MBE system is an ultra-flexible tool with a design configurable for emerging materials. The system incorporates production design technology that allows for an optional cluster tool wafer transfer system for an ideal lab-to-fab migration – Courtesy of Veeco, 2024

Ali Jaffal (AJ): What technological trends and innovations characterize the current landscape of MBE equipment?

GS: The MBE market has multiple applications. As touched on above, Veeco has expertise in building MBE systems for wide-bandgap power semiconductors, HEMT, long-range infrared sensors, advanced photonics, and the emerging world of quantum computing. All these applications need high-quality, uniform, defect-free films.

With MBE systems it is possible to engage in bandgap engineering by leveraging the ability to create varied film stoichiometries and sharp interfaces between multiple materials

Veeco has the unique ability and knowledge to support our customers as they move from R&D to high-volume production with the appropriate tools for their process needs; whether that entails MBE, MOCVD, IBD, or ALD deposition systems.

Or, if the application calls for it, Veeco can potentially offer platforms that combine multiple technologies to form complete solutions

AJ: For which devices and geographies do you see the adoption of MBE deposition technology?

GS: Demand for MBE processes is being observed nearly worldwide. While MBE continues to serve our core applications such as HEMT and laser devices, recent adoption of MBE platforms are for cutting-edge technologies. These include long-wavelength infrared (IR) sensors, advanced light emitting diodes (LEDs), and wide bandgap materials for power devices in multiple geographies.

Additionally, MBE is being used in the development of quantum computing, spanning a variety of qubit technologies: III-V, Nitride, Oxide, and SiGe materials.

TY: MBE equipment has a sophisticated system morphology. Could you elucidate its in-fab cost of ownership?

GS: While MBE technology has been largely employed for R&D use, the extremely high-quality films produced by this method, with tunable stoichiometry and doping has caught the attention of companies willing to consider its use in volume applications. As such, the design of the Veeco MBE system consists of highly reliable source technologies, tight controls and monitoring of deposition parameters, and ultra-high vacuum levels. All of which have contributed to enhancing the length and quality of the deposition campaigns, and overall reliability of the system. In turn this has allowed our customers to be competitive in their markets with high yield materials produced cost effectively.

TY: How does Veeco prepare for an increased adoption of MBE systems?

GS: Our preparation for the increased adoption of MBE is rooted around three fundamental principles:

  • The continued interaction with our customers to gain an ever deeper understanding of the application space for which they are employing MBE,
  • Undertaking development activities at Veeco that enhance the system performance and enlarge the body of applications,
  • Lowering the barrier of adoption by incorporating technologies within the system that allow users to more easily arrive at actionable results. We believe these activities place us in a strong position to meet the increased demand for MBE 

AJ: Would you like to add any closing thoughts for our readers?

GS: As pointed out earlier, Veeco is fundamentally a material science company that has a broad scope of deposition solutions, MBE, ALD, IBD and MOCVD.

Veeco is one of the few places you can go when working with MBE applications and find a suite of equipment that can produce a complete solution for companies working in the areas we have discussed above, as opposed to having to try to cobble together different solutions piecemeal. Our size enables us to work on one-off R&D projects as well as develop technology for full-scale production.

In the MBE film space, Veeco views itself as a thought and technology leader and a preferred collaboration partner. Veeco can identify material science challenges and work with customers to develop unique production-worthy solutions.

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