Testing of GaN Substrates Yields Successful Results: Further Developments to be Centered on LED Backlights

It was just a few days ago when Japan-based LED maker, Toyota Gosei Co., Ltd., announced its plan to manufacture new LED products using gallium nitride substrates as base components. Measuring up to several hundred µms in thickness, these essential materials, once properly assembled with 1mmx1mm LED chips, provide potential brightness of up to 400 lumens, approximately three times the amount delivered by LEDs fabricated on sapphire substrates. As has been the case with the 8-inch, silicon-based wafer level packaging technology introduced a few years earlier, it is believed the development of the new GaN-based LEDs will generate the spark necessary to propel the LED industry in a favorable direction. While common semiconductor materials such as sapphire substrates may become obscure along the process, the long term benefits associated with the more efficient GaN substrates are expected to more than compensate for that loss.

At present, the two most notable companies known to manufacture GaN substrates are Mitsubishi Corporation, from Japan, and Suzhou Nanowin Science and Technology Co., Ltd., a local Chinese company which receives its technological know-how from Suzhou Institute of Nano-Tech and Nano-Bionics.

With proven consistency in producing remarkably high brightness levels, it is surmised that the development of LED products using GaN substrates will contribute immensely to the advancement of LED backlight technology. In the long run, electronic consumer devices expected to benefit from such advancements include tablet computers, smartphones, and laptops, many of which are continuing to push the boundaries for the amount of resolution that can be displayed on a screen.

That Windows 8 is set to arrive in the near future raises further possibilities regarding the types of contributions GaN substrates bring. As an example, consider the fact that 20% of the Ultrabooks currently employing touch panels reportedly experience weakened brightness upon frequent use of the touch screen. A highly capable LED chip made from GaN substrates, in essence, can be utilized to amend issues like these in addition to improving resolution performance for devices like the Macbook Pro or enhancing displays for tablets like Microsoft’s soon to be released Surface.
Given GaN substrates will roughly cost 2 to 3 times more than sapphire substrates, the challenge for Toyota Gosei Co., Ltd. lies not only in creating an ideal line of GaN-based LED products, but finding a way to do so in the most efficient and cost effective manner.

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