Yole Développement announces its Technology & Market study “UV LED Market”.
“Thanks to its compactness, lower cost of ownership and environmental friendly composition, UV LEDs continue replacing traditional UV lamps in incumbent applications, but will also create new applications, especially portable ones”, explains Pars Mukish, Technology & Market Analyst, LED & Compound Semiconductors at Yole Développement.
UV LED market will reach more than $150M in 2016
“UV LED business is expected to grow from $32.5M in 2011 to more than $150M in 2016”, announces Yole Développement. Within this period, UV LEDs market (M$) will grow by a factor x5 whereas the traditional UV lamps market will only grow by a factor x1.5.
In 2011, LEDs keep on being sold mostly in the UVA/B spectrum (especially in upper wavelengths, between 365 and 400 nm). More than 90% of the UV LED market (outside of R&D) was still covered by UV curing, counterfeit detection and medical & instrumentation applications requiring UVA/B sources. Concerning UVC LEDs, they were still mainly sold for R&D and scientific instrumentation purpose, but 2012 should see the commercialization of the first UV LED based purification system.
UVA (400-315nm) business is currently the main UV LED market and will remain so for at least the next 5 years:
• About 90 % of the market (M$) in 2010
• About 85 % of the market (M$) in 2016
UV LEDs are totally changing the value & supply chains
The booming UV LEDs market has attracted several new players from different backgrounds over the past years: traditional mercury lamp suppliers, traditional UV curing system suppliers, pure UV LED curing system suppliers, visible LED suppliers, substrate suppliers… Each player addressing different strategy to capture the maximum of value created by this disruptive technology.
“At the device level, Asian companies, especially Japanese and Taiwanese ones, have taken the lead on the UV LED market but recently, some Chinese companies have also entered the playground” says Pars Mukish. “This should increase competition, reduce prices and enable mass applications at middle/long term”.
Beyond that, as for visible LEDs few years ago, the value chain is consolidating with the arrival of pure players at the packaging and system level mainly, allowing:
• To increase performance of UV LEDs with specific package developments.
• To easier technological transition with traditional UV system manufacturers.
UVA LEDs still dominate thanks to UV curing business boom
Key applications for UVA are UV curing, counterfeit detection and photocatalyst air purifier. Among those, the most dynamic and important market is clearly the UV curing business where UV LEDs definitely compete with traditional mercury lamps and offer significant advantages in terms of cost of ownership, system miniaturization (…):
• 2 professional associations dedicated to UV LED curing have been formed in 2012, showing the robustness and the credibility of the UV LED technology.
• Recent improvements have greatly increased the power output available at window surface of UV LEDs to 16W/cm² in 2011.
UVC LEDs are still in development but commercialization should be earlier than expected
Water & Air purification are the potential next high volume applications for UVC LEDs. And in 2011, the UVC LED industry achieved a new milestone of structuration:
• Crystal IS has been acquired by Asahi Kasei (large Japanese group).
• Dot Metrics, the first pure UV LED water purification company, announced they (in partnership with Aquionics) will launch a first commercial product in 2012.
• SETi announced the increase of its production capacity by a factor x6 with $20M investment.
In parallel, numerous research results published in 2011 have demonstrated an impressive improvement of the optical power output of UV LEDs: up to x10 compared to 2010. Hence, we expect that UVC LEDs should penetrate those key applications in 2014 after having completely solved the efficiency, lifetime and cost challenges.
Growth of the UVC market will also be connected to the availability of bulk AlN substrates that could improve the performance of the devices.
More than 50% performance improvement for bulk AlN based UV LEDs in 2011
Templates (AlN on Sapphire) are definitively the substrate of choice for UVA/B applications due to their lower cost and sufficient performance.
“But for UVC applications, the competition with bulk AlN is increasing as such substrate could offer improvement of lifetime and power output of the UV LEDs”, explains Pars Mukish. “For example, in 2011, Crystal IS has improved its bulk AlN based UV LED results by a factor x20”.
Several players are also targeting to commercialize 2” bulk AlN wafers by the end 2012. Therefore, the time to market for UVC applications based on bulk AlN would probably be in 2013-2015. However, as no research have clearly demonstrated the effect of bulk AlN substrate on UV LEDs performance, future commercial success of such substrate for UVC purification applications is still under debate.
Get more details on the report (download sample, description and order form) here.