Archive for the ‘LED Industry News’ Category

by Matt Margolis

News broke Friday that Apple acquired Luxvue Technology Corporation for an undisclosed amount of money.  Luxvue  Technology was unknown to nearly everyone until their acquisition by Apple put them in the spot light.   I think the biggest question you want to know is, how can I make money from this?

According to Crunchbase Luxvue Technology was incorporated in 2009, based in Santa Clara, California and they develop low-power, micronLED based displays for consumer electronics applications.

LuxVue Technology Corporation develops low-power, microLED-based displays for consumer electronics applications. LuxVue Technology Corporation was formerly known as Papierlos Corporation. The company was incorporated in 2009 and is based in Santa Clara, California.

LuxVue Technology Corporation develops low-power, microLED-based displays for consumer electronics applications. LuxVue Technology Corporation was formerly known as Papierlos Corporation. The company was incorporated in 2009 and is based in Santa Clara, California. – See more at: http://www.crunchbase.com/organization/luxvue-technology#sthash.iBHexiMz.dpuf
LuxVue Technology Corporation develops low-power, microLED-based displays for consumer electronics applications. LuxVue Technology Corporation was formerly known as Papierlos Corporation. The company was incorporated in 2009 and is based in Santa Clara, California. – See more at: http://www.crunchbase.com/organization/luxvue-technology#sthash.iBHexiMz.dpuf

LED is very interesting topic, first of all LED is more efficient than fluorescent lights.  Second of all, LED is becoming the standard light bulb all around the world, one bulb at a time.  One of the most vital ingredients in LED lighting is sapphire. What makes sapphire so special?

Synthetic single-crystal sapphire is a single crystal form of corundum, Al2O3, also known as alpha-alumina, alumina, and single crystal Al2O3. Sapphire is aluminum oxide in the purest form with no porosity or grain boundaries, making it theoretically dense. The combination of favorable chemical, electrical, mechanical, optical, surface, thermal, and durability properties make sapphire a preferred material for high performance system and component designs.

One of the biggest issues with battery life are displays that drain your battery just from emitting light.  LED lights are known for their durability, low energy consumption and long-lasting life span.  What if an electronic device display shared was also composed of LED?  How much many hours would be added to your battery per charge?

Apple’s sapphire partner GT Advanced Technologies is currently producing sapphire for consumer electronics as well as the LED industry (LED customers currently exclude Apple).  GT is an expert in producing sapphire for LED as well as sapphire for consumer electronics.  The sapphire used for LED lighting does not need to be as perfect because it’s not the same as a sapphire cover screen that you look through to see your display.  The sapphire layer is the body (bottom) layer that the LED display would be stacked on.

Apple acquired LuxVue Technology along with its long list of patents.  One of the patents that sparked my interest was Luxvue’s (now Apple’s) LED Array patent.  What is interesting about this patent is that the bottom layer that makes up the LED display includes not only sapphire as an option but also SiC (Silicon Carbide).  According to the patent both materials can be transparent, but currently sapphire is drastically less expensive of the two options but SiC has a significant performance benefit over sapphire.   SiC most likely won’t reach consumer electronic products for several years (5?, 10?, 15? years) at the earliest, but the switch from Si (Silicon) to SiC (Silicon Carbide) is currently underway in Power Electronics.

Conclusion

  • In 2014 Apple is going to be the first high volume consumer electronics manufacturer to cover its devices with sapphire.
  • Apple is going to adopt LED displays within the next 12 to 18 months across its portfolio of iDevices
  • GT Advanced Technologies will produce and process hundreds of millions of sapphire substrates annually that will end up below Apple’s LED displays before the end of 2015.
  • Apple’s adoption of LED displays will add a “new significant layer” of reoccurring revenue to GT’s top line before the end of 2015
  • The relationship between GT Advanced Technologies and Apple goes much deeper than just sapphire cover screens

 

For your reading pleasure Luxvue’s (now Apple’s) LED Array patent is highlighted below.

A micro light emitting diode (LED) and a method of forming an array of micro LEDs for transfer to a receiving substrate are described. For example, the receiving substrate may be, but is not limited to, a display substrate, a lighting substrate, a substrate with functional devices such as transistors or integrated circuits (ICs), or a substrate with metal redistribution lines. In an embodiment, a micro LED structure includes a micro p-n diode, a reflective metallization stack below a bottom surface of the micro p-n diode, and an electrically insulating spacer spanning a portion of sidewalls of the reflective metallization stack and laterally surrounding the reflective metallization stack, where the reflective metallization stack is between the micro p-n diode and a bonding layer formed on a substrate. In an embodiment, the bonding layer has a liquidus temperature of approximately 350° C. or lower, and more specifically approximately 200° C. or lower. In an embodiment, the bonding layer is an alloy bonding layer. For example, the bonding layer may be an indium-silver (InAg) alloy. Depending upon the manner of formation, the bonding layer can have a uniform concentration, or a gradient concentration.

In a particular embodiment, growth substrate 101 is sapphire, and the p-n diode layer 110 is formed of GaN. Despite the fact that sapphire has a larger lattice constant and thermal expansion coefficient mismatch with respect to GaN, sapphire is reasonably low cost, widely available and its transparency is compatible with excimer laser-based lift-off (LLO) techniques. In another embodiment, another material such as SiC may be used as the growth substrate 101 for a GaN p-n diode layer 110. Like sapphire, SiC substrates may be transparent. Several growth techniques may be used for growth of p-n diode layer 110 such as metalorganic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD). GaN, for example, can be grown by simultaneously introducing trimethylgallium (TMGa) and ammonia (NH3) precursors into a reaction chamber with the sapphire growth substrate 101 being heated to an elevated temperature such as 800° C. to 1,000° C. In the particular embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1A, p-n diode layer 110 may include a bulk GaN layer 112, an n-doped layer 114, a quantum well 116 and p-doped layer 118. The bulk GaN layer 112 may be n-doped due to silicon or oxygen contamination, or intentionally doped with a donor such as silicon. N-doped GaN layer 114 may likewise be doped with a donor such as silicon, while p-doped layer 118 may be doped with an acceptor such as magnesium. A variety of alternative p-n diode configurations may be utilized to form p-n diode layer 110. Likewise, a variety of single quantum well (SQW) or multiple quantum well (MQW) configurations may be utilized to form quantum well 116. In addition, various buffer layers may be included as appropriate. In one embodiment, the sapphire growth substrate 101 has a thickness of approximately 200 μm, bulk GaN layer 112 has a thickness of approximately 0.5 μm-5 μm, n-doped layer 114 has a thickness of approximately 0.1 μm-3 μm, quantum well layer 116 has a thickness less than approximately 0.3 μm and p-doped layer 118 has a thickness of approximately 0.1 μm-1 μm.

In the Figure below a layer of Sapphire and or SiC is represented by “101”

LED Display

 

Full Disclosure: I am long GTAT and Apple’s newest acquisition will result in a “new significant layer” of reoccurring sapphire revenue from Apple, which is likely to begin before the end of 2015.

 

 

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Matt Margolis -2/18/14

Kyma Technologies Background: Kyma Technologies was founded in 1998 and is located in Raleigh, NC.  Annual revenues are estimated at approximately $3m per year and they have 17 employees.   Kyma Technologies has managed to survive over the last 16 years through various venture capitalists funds raisers as well as several relatively small contracts awarded to them.  In 2003, Kyma received $1.4M from GE Technology Finance in the form of a line of credit to build out their gallium nitride substrates business.  Later in 2003, Kyma received $4m of Series B (venture capitalist money), which included support from Digital Power Capital and Siemens Venture Capital.  In 2011, Kyma landed a deal to will work with Veeco Instruments on a next generation LED manufacturing project funded by a $4 million award from the U.S. Department of Energy.   Less than 6 months ago in October, Kyma received an additional $3.2M of venture capitalist funding.

Screenshot - 2_18_2014 , 9_06_34 PM

This morning GTAT announced they had acquired exclusive rights from Kyma Technologies, Inc. for its plasma vapor deposition (PVD) process technology and know-how.  Based on the reading the announcement I believe GT will be paying Kyma a royalty fee based on units sold or a similar methodology.  I thought it would be interesting to compare the press releases from both companies GTAT and Kyma to see if there are any differences and sure enough there are!  Announcement from Kyma & Announcement from GTAT.

Analysis of opening statement: GTAT makes it very clear that they have acquired “exclusive rights” for Kyma’s plasma vapor deposition (PVD) process technology and “know-how”.    It sounds like GTAT not only gets the rights to the PVD system but also the IP (intellectual property) behind the technology.  Based on this language it appears GT will be paying Kyma an ongoing royalty fee for each PVD tool sold.  Kyma on the other hand only indicates that it has “licensed” the technology but does not state that it is an exclusive deal.

Opening statement from GTAT’s announcement is below:

GT Advanced Technologies (Nasdaq:GTAT) today announced that it has acquired exclusive rights from Kyma Technologies, Inc. for its plasma vapor deposition (PVD) process technology and know-how. The PVD of nano-columns (PVDNC™) technology developed by Kyma deposits a high-quality growth initiation layer of aluminum nitride (AlN) on wafers prior to gallium nitride (GaN) deposition. GT plans to commercialize a PVD tool that will complement its hydride vapor phase epitaxy (HVPE) system, which is currently in development. The combined offering will provide LED manufacturers with a higher throughput, lower cost solution to produce gallium nitride (GaN) templates on patterned or planar wafers. GT already has a high volume prototype tool incorporating Kyma’s PVDNC technology and expects to offer a production-ready tool in the first half of 2015.

Opening statement from Kyma is below:

Kyma Technologies, Inc., a leading supplier of advanced materials solutions that promote safety and energy efficiency, announced today that it has licensed its nitride semiconductor plasma vapor deposition of nanocolumns (PVDNC™) technology to GT Advanced Technologies.

Kyma has a rich history of advancing PVDNC™ technology to create a cost-effective nanocolumnar crystalline AlN nucleation layer on flat sapphire and silicon substrates as well as on patterned sapphire substrates. The nanocolumnar AlN presents an excellent surface for subsequent nucleation and growth of GaN buffer layers which are important for GaN LEDs and power electronics. Kyma has offered PVDNC™ AlN templates to the market for many years and also employs such templates as a starting material for growing bulk and thin film crystalline GaN by hydride vapor phase epitaxy (HVPE).

Analysis of closing statement: GTAT states they manufacturers will be able to “increase the throughput of their existing LED production lines and lower the capital expenditures…” while Kyma says that the (PVDNC) technology has the “potential to double the throughput of today’s MOCVD tools.”  It’s very interesting that GTAT went light on the technology benefits but Kyma wanted to make sure everyone knew this could double the throughput.

Closing paragraph from GTAT is below:

Today, GaN deposition on epi wafers is done in slower and more expensive MOCVD tools. By utilizing the combined PVD and HVPE processes to create low cost GaN templates, manufacturers will be able to increase the throughput of their existing LED production lines and lower their capital expenditures because they will need fewer MOCVD tools.

Closing paragraph from Kyma is below:

PVDNC™ technology is an excellent complement to GT’s recently announced move into HVPE equipment. The combination of PVDNC™ AlN nucleation layers and HVPE GaN buffer layers has the potential to double the throughput of today’s MOCVD tools and to improve the performance and yield of devices. The result is higher throughput of improved devices made at lower fabrication cost, a triple win for the customer.

One more omission from the GTAT announcement completely that was in Kyma’s announcement was but “also into the nascent market for nitride based power electronics”.  GTAT only mentions this deal in relation to LED but it may be one of the “secret” weapons for Power Electronics which is one of the 4 business swim lanes.  Slides pulled from the recent corporate overview support my theory above that this deal with Kyma is for LED as well as Power Electronics related to Silicon Carbide Systems as well as end market Power Systems for Electric Vehicles.

2014 Slide 4

2014 Slide 4

2014 Slide 4

2014 Slide 4

The Kyma100 HVPE Specs are below

Kyma100 HVPE System Specs

Kyma100 HVPE System Specs

This is a interesting fact sheet from Kyma and their focus on Support of Wide Bandgap Semiconductor Power Electronics including  Silicon Carbide (SiC).

Screenshot - 2_18_2014 , 9_14_33 PM

My takeaways:

  • GTAT acquired exclusive rights for Kyma’s PVD Tool and IP (Intellectual Property) associated with it
  • PVD tool can double the throughput of today’s MOCVD tools
  • GT plans to commercialize this tool beginning in 2015 partnered with their HVPE system in development for LED
  • PVD tool will also benefit SiC and Nitride Based Power Electronics (Power Systems for Electric Vehicles)

Matt Margolis ( I am long GTAT and have no plans to add or sell any holdings in the next 72 hours)

There has been some interesting chatter regarding GTAT’s 2014  Corporate Overview Jan 2014 versus the 2012 Corporate Overview Feb 2012.  I wanted to highlight some key items in the 2014 presentations and fill in some blanks from 2012.  My straightforward analysis is that GT’s business is coming together very nicely as they round out 2014 and head into 2015.

Below you can see the 2012 business initiatives versus the 2014 initiatives.   LED (Sapphire) has gone from just LED in 2012 to LED & Industrial as well as Consumer Electronics & Non-Led in 2014.  Solar has moved from the top of the chart to the bottom.  In 2014 Power Electronics has moved from a potential in 2012 to a significant market for GTAT in 2014.

2012 Slide 5

2012 Slide 5

2014 Slide 4

Also, above in the 2012 presentation  management is looking into Power Management Applications for SiC LED and Silicon Carbide specifically “power management applications” with a new internal development initiative targeting CY13/Cy14.   If you look at 2014 slide 4 below, the SiC initiative for power management applications is Power Systems for Electric Vehicles.  The evaluation of the LED value chain from 2012 I believe is related to GT’s GAN HVPE product in development.

Furthermore, based on the 2014 slide 4 below, it appears GTAT is already ready to run on all cylinders.  They have alined several key products in each of their business swim lanes to dominate the market share.   They note that certain products are currently in developement:

  • Annealing (Consumer Electronics & Non-LED)
  • GaN HVPE (LED & Industrial)
  • HiCz ™ (Solar)
  • Hyperion (Consumer Electronics & Non-LED, LED & Industrial, Power Electronics, Solar)

Yes – Hyperion goes across all 4 business swim lanes! 

2014 Slide 4

2014 Slide 4

2014 Slide 5 – is a clear indication to me of where GTAT will deploy a large chunk of their December 2013 fund raising.   GT will be growing their LED sapphire business and adding other materials platforms.  2014 Slide 11 – clearly states GT will be establishing non-LED sapphire materials business using their GAN HVPE solution paired with Hyperion.  HVPE on slide 25 below is geared towards high volume production tool.  (Yes Apple Sapphire Materials falls into this space but I believe there is more to come with LED!)

2014 Slide 5

2014 Slide 5

2014 Slide 11

2014 Slide 11

2014 Slide 25

2014 Slide 25

Other Key Slides include Hyperion which will be applied across all of GT’s business swim lanes.  The technology is targeting 2015 availability and pre-production development is in operation at GT’s development lab.  GT believes that the Hyperion business, once mature,could rival the size of GT’s PVbusiness at its peak.

  • GT has made significant progress across several applications, including:
  • Producing ultra-thin silicon wafers
  • Developing low cost composite glass and thin sapphire structures
  • Thin, relatively inexpensive, SiC wafer
2014 Slide 23

2014 Slide 23

2014 Slide 24

2014 Slide 24

In conclusion, GT appears to be on the cusp of landing another (in addition to Apple Nov 2013) high volume reoccurring materials business contract in the LED space through acquisition of another market player or ongoing negotiations with a key LED provider.  Longer term their focus appears to be focused on increasing their materials business beyond sapphire for consumer electronics and sapphire for LED.  GT has been making sapphire materials for LED through Crystal Systems for over a decade so a deal in this space would not be new but the size of a potential LED deal on the horizon may be significant in comparison. Sic, LED, Solar and Hyperion all appear to ready to produce significant revenues by 2015.  The Solar equipment recovery may start as soon as 2H 2014.  2014 will be a very good year for GT driven by it’s Sapphire Material business with Apple, but 2015 might be a game changer for this company, as all systems go.

China Sets $164B LED Production Value by 2020

Posted: February 17, 2014 by mattmargolis24 in LED Industry News
Tags: , , ,

Digitimes reports that China’s government has set a 2020 target production value of all types of LED products of $164B this is double China’s plan of $82B from 2011 to 2015.   Mobile device manufacturers increasing their consumption of sapphire a key component in LED lighting.  China’s is increasing their appetite for expanding LED lighting.  My takeaway,  it seems very clear that sapphire manufacturers and sapphire equipment makers will be very busy building out new infrastructure to support the sapphire growth that lies ahead.

The China government has set a 2020 target production value of CNY1 trillion (US$164 billion) for all types of LED products, with 70% of the value to come from LED lighting, according to Digitimes Research.

The target production value for 2020 is double the CNY500 billion set for 2015 in China’s 12th Five-year Plan (2011-2015), and the corresponding proportion for LED lighting is 40ppt higher than the 30% set in the plan, Digitimes Research indicated.

Two main factors will account for the large growth in LED lighting: one is that China’s urbanized population as a percentage of total is forecast to keep rising from 52.4% in 2012 to 60% in 2020 and this is conducive to growth in demand for outdoor and indoor LED lighting; the other is that the total length of intercity freeways, railways and subways in China will increase to 4.5 million km, 120,000km and 3,000km respectively in 2015 and this will lead to demand for LED lighting.

In addition, there is fast growing demand for LED street lamps in China, and in 2014 particularly, the demand is estimated at 1.68 million lamps.

LED Lighting to grow 45% per year through 2019

Posted: February 9, 2014 by mattmargolis24 in LED Industry News
Tags: , ,

The LED lighting market is anticipated to grow 45% per year through 2019. The LED lighting market at $4.8 billion in 2012 is anticipated to go to $42 billion by 2019.  Head over to http://www.prweb.com/releases/led-lighting-market-share/and-forecasts-2013-2019/prweb11212486.htm for complete details