LEDs used for backlighting will soon be in short supply as demand for large LCD televisions and monitors soars.
According to statistics from iSuppli, the global market for LCDs measuring 10in or more diagonally that have LED backlighting systems has surged by 135 per cent this year to 277 million units.
Sweta Dash, senior director for LCD research at iSuppli, said the increased demand was exhausting supply, with shortages appearing mid-year and expected to continue until at least the end of the year.
“There have been mounting concerns in the industry about supply constraints for LEDs and light guide plates, two of the major components for LED backlights,” added Dash.
“Changes in light guide design, constraints in raw materials and high expansion costs are limiting capacity.”
Furthermore, the Metal Oxide Chemical Vapor Deposition (MOCVD) reactors used cannot make LED chips fast enough, said Dash.
This year iSuppli expected LED backlights to be used in 43 per cent of all 10in-plus LCD panels, as well as increasing presence in signage, industrial and medical applications.
LED backlight shipments will rise to 477.6 million units in 2011 and continue to expand to 817.9 million units in 2014. By then, LED backlights will have penetrated 87.7 percent of the total large-sized LCD market, according to iSuppli.
Compared to the older cold cathode fluorescent lamp technology used for LCDs, LEDs enable slimmer and lighter design, lower power consumption, and are mercury-free.
LED suppliers are shifting production from two-inch wafers to four-inch and six-inch wafers. This will enable manufacturers to increase capacity, after about a year of adjusting to using the larger wafers, according to iSuppli.
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