LED sapphire substrate has been used in 96.7 percent of LED production globally by 2020, according to researches ftom IHS.
Almost all top LED suppliers, including Nichia Chemicals, OSRAM Optoelectronics, Lumileds, Seoul Semiconductor, EPISTAR and Sanan Optoelectronics, have all adopted Sapphire wafers, IHS said.
Comprehensive analysis of the global LED substrate market shows that Plessy, Latticepower and Samsung mainly use silicon substrates, but with its technology still in early stage, their scale is small and the market share is low. And CREE mainly apply silicon carbide substrates, which are adopted by few companies because of high cost and patent monopoly.
The LED company by Shoji Nakamura is said to adopt bulk gallium nitriding (GaN) substrates, which are in good performance yet more expensive than sapphires, and with limited size in production, it cannot be extensively applied. Thus, sapphire substrate has been able to develop rapidly and occupy the mainstream market.
Estimably, Sapphire will remain to be the leader in LED substrate manufacturing. Due to low yield and lattice mismatch, silicon substrate will not replace led sapphire substrate. Other substrates, including silicon, silicon carbide and gallium nitride, are also predicted to make few progress in the next few years.
At present, LED sapphire substrate has two main advantages: first, it matches with most of the existing industry expertise and production equipment; secondly, sapphire has low cost and high availability, which can produce relatively cheaper LED products. Of course, there are drawbacks to sapphire substrates, such as lattice mismatch, thermal mismatch, poor electrical and thermal conductivity, but there will not affect the market position of sapphire substrates. Only when better and cheaper substrates emerge in the future will change the existing market landscape.