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Epi-wafer market to approach $4B in 2020, says analyst

Posted: 23 Jul 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:LED lighting? epitaxial wafer? GaN-on-sapphire? GaN-on-Si?

Lux Research has revealed that as LED lighting industry pushes nearer towards the $80-billion mark, the market for the epitaxial wafers (epi-wafers) LEDs will consequently climb to $4 billion in 2020. The vast majority of these epi-wafers are gallium nitride (GaN)-on-sapphire today. GaN-on-silicon is the leading emerging technology with a strong economic alluresilicon is just one-eighth the cost of a sapphire substratebut technical challenges will limit it to only a 10 per cent market share in 2020. GaN-on-silicon carbide (SiC) will grow to 18 per cent market share, added the market analytics firm.

"Silicon is already widely used for electronics, and some LED die manufacturers are hoping to take advantage of silicon substrates," said Pallavi Madakasira, Lux Research analyst. "But GaN-on-Si is more prone to cracking than GaN-on-sapphire, and mitigating this mismatch is expensive."

According to the report, the choice and cost of LEDs will determine the level of adoption of the technology. Where GaN-on-sapphire is suited to all applications, GaN-on-bulk GaN will be relegated to niche commercial lighting and GaN-on-Si, with unproven performance, will be better suited to cost-sensitive residential applications.

Additionally, 4in wafers will peak at 62 per cent market share with $2.1 billion in 2017 sales. Later, the LED industry will move towards 6in epi wafers, which will take a 35 per cent share, equivalent to $1.4 billion in 2020.

Also, sapphire substrate manufacturing technology has advanced significantly with specialists such as Rubicon and Monocrystal demonstrating substrates up to 12in. New methods such as hydride vapor phase epitaxy (HVPE) will further improve throughput and cut costs, keeping sapphire highly competitive for the rest of the decade, continued Lux Research.

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