A comprehensive survey of LED Front-End manufacturing, covering main process steps and technological trends
SUBSTRATES ARE SHAPING THE LED FRONT-END INDUSTRY
LED substrate is one of the key topics impacting the LED Front-End industry in the following ways:
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. 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.
The 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.
INCREASED COMPETITION WILL ACCELERATE NEW LED MOCVD REACTOR DEVELOPMENT
LED epitaxy has also been of central interest to the LED Front-End industry that has seen the entry of several new players in the MOCVD reactor market since 2011 / 2012. Even if increased competition has not really affected the market’s top leaders (Aixtron, Veeco and Taiyo Nippon Sanso), it has forced them to accelerate development of the next generation of MOCVD tools to lever market entry barriers. This generation of MOCVD reactors should focus on Cost of Ownership, see the emergence of enhanced designs, with new heating systems, new gas-flow designs, and increased automation (…).
Regarding lithography, plasma etching and deposition, PVD and testing, mostly incremental evolutions have occurred (such as improvement of throughput, and ASP decrease…) reflecting a saturation in technological development.
The report presents a detailed analysis of LED epitaxy, highlighting main trends at process, technology and equipment levels...
More information on that report at http://www.i-micronews.com/reports/LED-Front-End-Manufacturing-Trends-report/14/433/