Nichia to Launch Industry’s Smallest Flip-Chip LEDs by End of 2015

Japanese LED chip manufacturer Nichia’s first flip chip LED product, set to be launched in October this year, will be one ninth the size of the average flip chip, said the company’s optoelectronic division chief technology officer today at a press conference at Hotel Okura in Taipei, Taiwan.

Based on the backbone of the company’s headlight LED technology, Nichia is in the process of mass producing 1 millimeter square (mm2) flip chip LED packages for lighting and backlight applications that will be capable of emitting the same brightness as a 3 mm2 flip chip, said Takashi Sakamoto, Principal Technical Officer, Optoelectronics Products BU, Nichia.

One technical difficulty the company had to overcome was the chip’s tiny size indicated it has to be capable of emitting 1.5 times brightness as normal sized flip chips, said Sakamoto.

Nichia officials from left to right: Hinori Takagi, General Manager, Intellecutal Property Department, Legal and Intellectual Property Dept., Legal & Intellectual property Division Administration Unit, Katsuyuki Akutagawa, Chief Legal & IP Officer and Company Board Director, Dr. Takashi Sakamoto, Principal Technical Officer, Optoelectronics Products BU., Masaki Mukaiyama, Special Consultant and Spokesperson, Nichia Taiwan, and Yuto Iwasa, Assistant Research Scientist, Intellectual Property Dept., Legal & Intellectual Property Division, Administration Unit.(LEDinside)

Coined Elemental LEDs (ELEDS), the chip’s smaller size, simpler structure is expected to drive down manufacturing costs by one ninth of that for average flip chips, he added.

“We’ve chosen the name Elemental LEDs because this is the most basic LED structure, and it is impossible to come up with a more simpler structure than this,” explained Sakamoto.

Drawing inspiration from physics, Nichia has derived its two ELEDS series product names after quark-gluon plasma (QGP), a phase of quantum chromodynamics (QCD) which is hypothesized to exist at extremely high temperature, density, or both temperature and density. The company has named its ELEDS backlighting products Quark, and Gluon for lighting applications.

Nichia will be initially targeting outdoor lighting sector with the new flip chip product, where products designs emphasize LEDs to be capable of emitting high levels of brightness from a small surface areas. According to Sakamoto, ELEDS would be effective in lowering costs for outdoor LED lighting manufacturers by reducing the secondary optic lens size, and thus material costs.

To develop these super small flip chip LEDs, Nichia has invested several billion Japanese Yen in developing and patenting LED material and original chip scale package (CSP) manufacturing process. However, this is only a small portion of the company’s annual 30 billion to 40 billion Japanese Yen (US $250 million-330 million) R&D budget.

“These new flip chips will make up a small revenue share for 2015, since clients also need time to develop products”, said Sakamoto. “But we expect it (ELEDS) to become a mainstream product within the next three to five years.”

Nichia’s production capacity for ELEDs will reach more than 10 million LEDs per month. The company is in the process of preparing its factories and production lines to meet the targeted launch date.

(Author: Judy Lin, Chief Editor, LEDinside)

(Editorial Note: Corrections were made to Nichia's annual R&D budget figure in this article from 30 million Japanese Yen to 30 billion to 40 billion Japanese Yen (US $ 250 million-330 million) as of March 13, 2015.)

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