Lux Research Forecasts that Market for Epitaxial Wafer LEDs to Grow to $4 Billion in 2020

The market for the epitaxial wafer LEDs will grow to $4 billion in 2020 as
LED lighting rockets to $80 Billion, according to Lux Research. While the vast
majority of these epi-wafer LEDs are gallium nitride (GaN)-on-sapphire, the
company says that GaN-on-silicon is an emerging technology that is just
one-eighth the cost of a sapphire substrate. However, the company predicts that
technical challenges will limit it to only a 10% market share in 2020. Also
available, GaN-on-silicon carbide (SiC), promoted by Cree, will grow to 18%
market share. Lux Research says that expensive GaN-on bulk GaN, will likely be
relegated to niche commercial applications. Lux Research contends that
GaN-on-Si, with unproven performance, will be better suited for cost sensitive
residential applications.

“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,”

she added.

The company predicts that four-inch sapphire wafers will peak at about 62%
market share and $2.1 billion in sales in 2017, but later the LED industry will
move towards 6″ epi wafers, taking a 35%, ($1.4 billion) share in 2020.
Advances such as Rubicon and Monocrystal demonstrations of 12” sapphire
substrates and hydride vapor phase epitaxy (HVPE) will further improve
throughput and cut costs and help keep sapphire competitive for the next
decade.