In recent years, UV LED's market scale has been significantly rising because of the reasons below. First, UV LED's power output grows considerably with its technologies being redeveloped. Next, UV LED has a longer lifespan, smaller size, more uniform light distribution, and it saves more energy. Thirdly, most countries ratified the Minamata Convention on Mercury in 2013 and approved energy saving policies. The final deadline that mercury will be prohibited globally from being used is 2020, less than three years from now. Many markets, including Japan, China and European countries, need UV LEDs to replace their mercury UV lamps. UV LEDs are increasingly used in various applications.
According to LEDinside's 2017 UV LED & UV LED Module Market Report, UV LED's market value is predicted to grow to USD 288 million by 2017, and rise to USD 526 million by 2020. The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2015 to 2020 will reach 34%.
Therefore, we can say UV LED is a segment that enlarges rapidly as LED companies worldwide are increasing related investments. LEDinside gathers a series of UV LED events and technology advancements in 2017.
FPCC and Nikkiso Jointly Invested JYP 8 Billion to Equip a UV LED JV
On January 25, 2017, Formosa Petrochemical Corporation (FPCC) and Japan-based Nikkiso announced to collaborate on a UV LED joint venture. This new company will produce deep UV LED chip and distribute deep UV applications. This joint effort will focus on UV LED equipment for water purifying, air purifying, curing and texture analyzing of resins.
Sources said that Nikkiso would take 51% share of the joint venture. The investment on equipment in this UV LED factory will total at JPY 8 billion (about RMB 486 million). In order to improve the cost structure, this new firm will use semiconductor equipment, existing LED mass production technologies and equipment from FPCC. After the collaboration successfully initiates, packaging and testing businesses will be carried out by Formosa Advanced Technologies Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of FPCC.
Strategic Partnership between Osram and HexaTech Facilitated UV LED Development
On February 15, 2017, HexaTech, one of the leading commercial suppliers of single crystal aluminum nitride (AlN) substrates, announced that it would sign two strategic agreements with OSRAM Opto Semiconductors GmbH. These agreements included a long term supply agreement and some licensing of HexaTech's intellectual property (IP).
One of the contracts involved the direct support of HexaTech’s 2” diameter substrate development program. It promised to have HexaTech as a source of AlN substrates and relevant intellectual properties in the long run.
HexaTech's CEO John Goehrke expressed that via licensing HexaTech's technologies Osram can accelerate UV-C LED component development based on HexaTech's materials.
Tokuyama, Stanley Electric Extended Collaboration in Developing UV LED
In February 2017, Japan's chemical giant Tokuyama Corp. and major electric equipment company Stanley Electric announced to extend collaboration in the deep UV LED segment. Tokuyama continues developing deep UV LED materials while Stanley Electric takes care of wafer making, packaging, product manufacturing and distribution. Tokuyama transferred its deep UV LED wafer production lines and patents to Stanley Electric.
Osram Acquired LED Engin Inc. for UV LED Business
On June 6, 2017, Osram announced that it would acquire LED Engin Inc, located in San Jose, California. LED Engin focuses on entertainment lighting, UV lighting, horticultural lighting, tunable-white lighting, and medical lighting. Its main products are ultra-bright, ultra-compact solid state lighting solutions. They mainly use Osram's LED chips.
LED Engin's powerful UV LED targets industrial applications, such as printing, curing, and dental equipment.
RayVio Worked with Digi-Key Electronics on UV LED Product Distribution
At the end of August 2017, RayVio, a public health and disinfection company, signed a new dealership agreement with Digi-Key Electronics. Digi-Key Electronics is a global electronic components distributor. With this agreement, RayVio can instantly ship out products worldwide via Digi-Key Electronics.
Osram Co-developed High-Power UV LED with German Research Team
At the beginning of December 2017, OSRAM Opto Semiconductors expressed that it was coordinating a research team sponsored by the German government. Osram and the team would co-develop a high-power, consumer-oriented UV LED chip. By 2020, Osram hoped to develop a prototype whose wavelength ranges from 250 nm to 310 nm and covers partial spectrum of UV-B and UV-C. Osram explained that the new high-power chip might open up a new segment in the UV LED market.
Nikkiso Applied Higher-Power UV LED to Water Purifying Systems
At the Nepcon Japan 2017, Jun Miyauchi, Head of UV LED Business of Nikkiso, expressed that Nikkiso upgrades its standard product's specification from 30 mW to 45 mW. Running them with a forward voltage at 6V, Nikkiso successfully improved the UV light extraction efficiency. Its thermal resistance decreased from 15K/W to 7K/W.
Nikkiso reportedly used the AlGaNon Sapphire technology and intended to launch 285 nm wavelength UV-C LED in 2017. That UV-C LED can achieve 45 mW under an operation at 350 mA and 6V. Its thermal resistance can drop to 7K/W with a reflective layer.
US Researchers Developed Highly Efficient Deep UV LED with the Lowest Wavelength
In March 2017, a research team in Cornell University, U.S, invented a deep-UV LED that was smaller and more eco-friendly. This product's wavelength set a new record as the lowest wavelength in the deep UV LED industry.
With an atom-level controlling interface, the thin monolayers of gallium nitride (GaN) and aluminum nitride (AIN) acted as active regions. The researchers successfully produced deep UV light emission with an LED featuring a wavelength range of 232-270nm. 232 nm has become a record as the shortest electroluminescence emission wavelength with GaN as the light emitting material. The previous record, 239 nm, was set by a Japanese team.
Nation Star Raised Light Power of UV LED with Unique Structuring Technology
Light power enhancement is a trend in the UV LED industry. Nation Star launched UV LED with integrated lens, performing high performance/cost ratio and high optical power at the Guangzhou International Lighting Exhibition (GILE) in 2017.
On its existing TOP structure, with Nation Star’s specialized structuring technology, the semi hemisphere lens' light power of the UV LED can be increased by 60% at max.
LG Innotek Devised World’s First 100mW UV-C LED
LG Innotek invented the first ever sterilization UV-C LED whose output power can reach 100 mW. LG Innotek broke the technical barrier by inventing the wafer structure and vertical chip technology that can maximize light output. This LED increases UV output, and its effective heat dissipation ensures stable quality. At a power of 100 mW, one LED can powerfully radiate UV light to disinfect for more than 10 thousand hours.
Qingdao Jason Electric Launched 3W UV-C LED Lamp
Qingdao Jason Electric Co., Ltd is a subsidiary of YuanRong Photoelectric Technology Co., Ltd. On December 22, 2017, Jason Electric launched a 275 nm deep UV-C LED lamp with an ultra-large output power of 3W.
After being tested by integrated sphere calibrated by international standards, this lamp's light output can reach at 3 W at 3.6 A (DC). This lamp's life span is estimated to last for 5,000 hours.