Emerging technologies support the convergence of thermal management needs in the power electronics and LED businesses
Some technical developments in LEDs and power electronics are converging to handle module-level thermal management
Power electronics and LEDs are different industries that today face similar challenges. Needs for green energy with lower CO2 emissions have led these industries to develop more efficient and smaller solutions. At the device level, cost pressure and the need for better performance is pushing designers towards smaller and thinner chips, also leading to increased power density. Such power density targets in both power electronics and LEDs bring a convergence of thermal management requirements, supporting the development of new materials. Among materials used for thermal management, Yole Développement specifically investigated the market and technology evolution of die attach, substrates, baseplates/PCBs and encapsulants. Overall, the market for these materials was worth $1.98B in 2015 and will grow to $3.16B by 2021 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6%. Their value proposition has the potential to bring business to their suppliers and key differentiating factors to device manufacturers. In 2021, the value of the market for thermal management materials will be almost 14% of the total value of the power electronics and LEDs module market. Automotive applications claim a large share of the thermal management material market, reaching almost 45% in 2021. Almost 30% of the overall market comprises technologies common to LEDs and power electronics. Power electronic modules represent a healthy market, worth about $2.9B in 2015 and set to reach $4.5B in 2021, growing at 9% CAGR. The LED packaging market reached $15B in 2015, after years of strong growth led by LED TV and general lighting. However, price pressure will moderate growth in coming years, with a 3.4% CAGR leading to a market worth $18.5B in 2021. From perspectives ranging from manufacturers and material suppliers through to end users, market dynamics, drivers and challenges are presented in this report, for both power electronics and LEDs.
A market dynamic that creates synergies across the two industries to benefit material suppliers
Power electronics and LEDs need the right materials to handle thermal management challenges. As those applications are driven by similar technical requirements, one technical solution can be adopted and developed for one industry before being used by another industry. The 30% of the overall thermal management material market that is common to both LED and power electronics represents $660M in 2015 and will reach $1014M in 2021. Another 30% can be reached by adapting existing technologies used in LED or power for the other application. Technology platforms are being used to bring companies the flexibility they need to adapt their existing products. Within the industry, leading companies like Curamik and Dow Corning have already adapted their product portfolio to target both power electronics and LEDs. This trend and market positioning is being followed by many other companies as they are looking for new business. Based on core competencies, companies supplying one type of material are adding others to offer their customers a “one stop shop”. This is particularly the case for Kyocera, Mitsubishi Materials and Heraeus. A company like Henkel today has the capability to supply PCBs, thermal interfaces and die attach. With this report, Yole Développement provides insights into synergies and supply chain evolution in the field of materials for power electronics and LED thermal management.
Technology evolution and roadmaps: similarities and differences between LEDs and power electronics
With such a strong thermal management market expansion, many solutions are being tested and validated to support new requirements and demand. Packages have to be smaller, with less thermal resistance and better reliability. Depending on market segments and power levels, the technical solutions may be completely different between LED and power electronics. LEDs need to emit light efficiently and effectively. Optical properties of the silicone gel are therefore a key priority. Power electronics, by contrast, doesn’t consider this parameter. Also, for low power LEDs having a baseplate is definitely not an option. When it comes to higher power levels, synergies are more important and convergence in terms of requirements enables one technology to handle both power electronics and LEDs. In addition to architectural changes, such as the removal of some layers and interfaces, materials providers have to innovate. These changes can be driven by common markets like automotive, where silver sintering die attach is gaining interest in power electronics for electric vehicles and hybrid electric vehicles (EV/HEV). This silver sintering approach is now starting to be implemented in production for LED lighting. Encapsulant materials will also be impacted by emergence of high temperature epoxy compounds and high temperature stable silicone gels. Silicon nitride substrates, Parylene coatings, ceramic heatsinks and eutectic or ball bonding die attach technologies are some other technologies that could emerge in the mid- to long- term. As every single material will have to adapt in coming years, in this report Yole Développement highlights their technology status and the related trends and roadmaps. The report analyses similarities and differences to address both LEDs and power electronics.
Objectives of the Report
This report’s objectives are to:
- Provide power electronic and LED module market analysis and forecasts
- Cover a large variety of different materials and technology solutions used in modules
- Provide insight into different technologies currently used, technology trends, and newest innovations for modules.
- Provide an overview of key suppliers s for module materials
- Demonstrate the strong synergies between applications that are driven by power density and efficiency