The report "Bulk GaN substrate market 2017", notes that while the Blu-ray segment which in the past was the GaN-based laser industry’s main driver, continues to decline, it is expected to be offset by nascent, growing segments like projectors (office projector, mobile pico projector, head-up display (HUD), etc.) and automotive lighting, leading to new growth opportunities for bulk GaN substrates.
In the LED market, improvements in GaN substrate manufacturing have lowered substrate prices enough for various niche LED applications. In addition to Soraa (US) and Panasonic (JP), this seems to have revived the interest of other LED manufacturers which are beginning to seriously consider using GaN substrates for either spotlighting or automotive lighting. New GaN-on-GaN LED players are expected in the market in the coming years.
This analysis pushes Yole to expect laser diodes and LEDs to drive the continuous growth of bulk GaN substrate demand. In 2016 the bulk GaN substrate market was estimated at about 60K wafers (Two Inch Equivalent (TIE)). Essentially all commercial GaN wafers are produced by hydride vapor-phase epitaxy (HVPE) technology, but details of the growth process and separation techniques vary by company. Other techniques, such as Na-flux or Ammonothermal, are still under development.
Meanwhile, the current GaN substrate market is heavily concentrated with three Japanese firms (Sumitomo Electric Industries, Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation and Sciocs holding more than 85% of the market. Other Japanese and non-Japanese players are still in small-volume production or at a too early R&D stage to challenge incumbent players.