A diode is the most fundamental form of a semiconductor device, which means conducts electricity. LEDs not only surpass the efficiency and lifespan of conventional lighting devices, but they also do not heat up in the process. This gives them many attributes that are desirable in industrial and commercial applications. It is not surprising then that the LED market has been on the growth path in recent years. An LED can emit white light, or any other color depending on the specific composition of the materials used while manufacturing the LED. Several different types of LED materials go into making specific LEDs. These are supplied by the LED materials market, and are used in a variety of small electronic devices such as alarm clocks and digital watches, radios, light bulbs, and calculators.
But the LED materials market is increasingly witnessing a spike in demand from the consumer electronics segment, which comprises smart televisions, smartphones, optical fiber communication, cameras, and even TV remote controls. Today, it is not uncommon to see the applications of LEDs expanding to the consumer wearables, apparel and jewelry market.
What are the key constituents of the LED materials market?
The entire market for LED materials can be segmented on the basis of semiconductor materials that are used in them. Thus, the three main segments of the market are: gallium arsenide (GaAs), gallium phosphide (GaP), gallium arsenide phosphide (GaAsP), and the others segment which comprises less common but important materials. In the global LED materials market, gallium arsenide ranks at the top according to the type of chemical used. It finds applications in all leading LED classes such as high power and miniature LEDs, as well as certain other types of application-specific LEDs. The largest market share was occupied by gallium arsenide in 2013.
The LED materials market can also be segmented based on the precursor applied during the MOCVD process. Thus, the lead materials can be segmented as: trimethyl aluminum (TMA), trimethylgallium (TMGa), trimethylindium (TMIn), C2Mg2, and triethylgallium (TEGa). TMGa ranks as the leading type of LED material used, and thus constitutes the largest market share as of 2013.
Three most important drivers of the LED materials market
For any market to expand over a period of time, the presence of an impetus is absolutely necessary. Without this, the market would either stagnate or decline. The LED material market is no exception to this fact. Here are the three key market trends that have been propelling the LED materials market over the recent past:
- A general increase in demand for LEDs: The use of LEDs is synonymous with energy efficiency and clear, high-resolution display characteristics. These attributes are especially critical to applications such as HD televisions and smart phones, where top-quality consumer interface is of the essence.
- LED lighting on the upswing: Developing economies are in dire need of energy and lighting solutions. The cost of this need can be humungous, and hence the need for efficient lighting solutions has gained importance over the past few years. Lighting is essential not just in the housing and industrial sector, but also in industrial machinery, automobiles, and so on. Since LEDs provide lights of the desired lumens, and efficiently at that, the demand for LED materials is on an upswing.
- Favorable regulatory policies: Governments today, more than ever, are concerned about keeping a check on energy consumption. State-sponsored environmental agencies are funding organizations and companies to come up with energy efficient products, systems and programs. The LED materials market benefits from this because many of these R&D efforts have time and again proven the benefits of LED lighting. In certain cases, the power consumed by LEDs is as low as one-third that of conventional comparable solutions.
The LED materials market, however, cannot rest on its achievements. In order to keep up a steady pace of growth, stakeholders and companies in this market have to constantly keep abreast of the latest trends and identify consumer needs and meet them in a timely fashion.
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