What are compound semiconductors?

Technology of
the future

Compound semiconductors are special materials that are all around us. They are in our electric cars, solar panels, satellites, spacecraft and smartphones. 

Future technologies such as driverless cars and artificial intelligence will also use them. 

Why are compound
semiconductors better?


They can handle more power than silicon. Electric cars, solar panels, wind turbines and spacecraft use them.


They are 100 times faster than silicon. 5G communications use them.


They are better at detecting and emitting light. Fibre-optic communications, medical scanners and smartphone cameras use them.

What are compound semiconductors made of?

Different compound semiconductors do different things. Electric vehicles use silicon carbide (SiC) and smartphone cameras use gallium arsenide (GaAs).

Examples of compound semiconductors include:
  • Gallium nitride (GaN)
  • Silicon carbide (SiC)
  • Gallium arsenide (GaAs)
  • Indium phosphide (InP)

Our expertise

CSA Catapult is a UK wide centre of excellence; we are specialists in measurement, characterisation, integration, and validation of compound semiconductor technology using state-of-the-art tools, techniques and equipment.

Power electronics

Power electronics

Our world-leading team of experts has the know-how, experience and track record in developing and commercialising high-performing power electronics devices for automotive, energy and industrial applications.

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RF & microwave communications

RF & microwave communications

Our radio frequency and microwave communications experts help optimise the performance and improve the energy efficiency of RF and microwave devices in future telecoms, space, defence and security industries.

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We are experts in the design, modelling, characterisation and validation of photonics devices, from laser emitters to photonic integrated circuits and quantum hardware.

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Advanced packaging

Advanced packaging

We provide a unique capability in advanced packaging for UK industry. We deliver bespoke solutions to the many complexities associated with compound semiconductor devices.

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Get in touch

To explore how we can work together, get in touch with a member of our team today.

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