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Apr 30th, 2014
Substrates are shaping the LED Front-End industry, announces Yole Développement
Yole Développement releases this week its report, LED Front-End Manufacturing Trends. “New LED substrate is one of the key topics impacting the LED Front-End industry”, explains Pars Mukish, Technology & Market Analyst at Yole Développement (Yole). “Substrates are clearly shaping this industry with the start of the use of Silicon and bulk GaN as a potential replacement of sapphire”, he adds. Under this report, Yole’s analyst provide a better understanding of the current process flow, process steps and technological trends in LED Front-End manufacturing. Pars Mukish details the importance of cost reduction in this area as well. Moreover, he evaluates emerging substrates and related technologies including GaN-on-GaN LEDs and GaN-on-Si LEDs.
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Under this report, Yole identified three main impacts:

  • Increased demand for larger size sapphire wafers with big players, such as LG, Sharp or Osram moving to 6” wafers and Taiwanese players moving to 4” wafers.
  • Increased demand for PSS that has now become mainstream in the industry (87% share as of Q1-2014), even if some questions remain concerning key patent holders’ strategies.
  • Development of GaN-on-Si and GaN-on-GaN LEDs with both technologies having begun mass production in some companies (such as Soraa for GaN, or Toshiba for Si).
    However, market penetration of these alternative substrates will be secondary to future improvements in terms of performance and cost”, says Pars Mukish. Otherwise, GaN-on-Si and GaN-on-GaN LEDs will not be able to fully compete with sapphire-based LEDs.

The impact of the sapphire industry on the LED industry is likely to become bigger in the future because of the recent partnership between GTAT and Apple (Q4-2013) to set up a large sapphire manufacturing plant ($1 billion). The plant, having a rough capacity of 2 times the current qualified sapphire capacity, could totally modify the structure and evolution of the sapphire and LED industries in the next few years.

Yole Développement’s report presents all recent technological trends of LED Front-End manufacturing, detailing evolutions at substrate, epitaxy, lithography, plasma etching and deposition, PVD and testing levels. More info. on www.i-micronews.com, reports section.

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