SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Two LED equipment makers--Aixtron and Veeco--are both seeing huge growth amid the LED boom.
Aixtron and Veeco are currently dominating the metal-organic chemical-vapor (MOCVD) deposition market for LED applications. But the two vendors could see some new MOCVD competition on the horizon from Applied Materials Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.
''The LED industry is still reeling from the sudden emergence of Samsung as a major volume and high-quality player in LEDs, sourcing over 40 percent of its LED-TVs today and with an eye toward the solid-state lighting (SSL) markets,'' said Hans Mosesmann, an analyst with Raymond James & Associates Inc., in a new report.
''We hear Samsung is developing its own MOCVD
tools, which to us means Samsung will not rest until it is number one,'' he said. ''LED players we spoke with dismiss Samsung to some degree, which we can understand; however, if Samsung doesn’t become number one, it will make it painful for everyone else along the way.''
Samsung is devising its MOCVD tools for its own LED plants; it will not become a merchant supplier of these systems. Samsung is devising its own tools for good reason: Lead times for LED gear, such as MOCVD deposition systems, are extending.
In LEDs Samsung is the one to watch. Samsung LED reportedly "plans further expansion by installing an additional 50 MOCVD tools, which would bring its total to an estimated 150 MOCVD tools by yearend," according to a recent report from SEMI. "The strong internal demand for LED-backlit modules is propelling their fastest-ever LED capacity buildup plan."
As reported, Applied Materials has been looking at the LED market, but the fab tool firm could be changing its plans.
''Our current checks suggest that AMAT may be listening to customers’ wishes to have a MOCVD solution and is refocusing its efforts away from a HVPE only solution and have something that combines HVPE and MOCVD,'' said C.J. Muse, an analyst with Barclays Capital, in a report.
''We believe, based on research on DOE’s LED related
projects that AMAT may have gotten $2.4 million from the taxpayer in connection with development of an MOCVD solution over the next eight quarters through end of 2011, though we think that the final manufacturing is likely to be done in Singapore/ Taiwan,'' he said.
''We do believe that in order not to lose momentum in this new developing sector, AMAT will announce a MOCVD tool, if not an effort within the next two months,
though, at that time, the tool may only be marginally beta-ready,'' he said.
''On a larger scale, our checks suggest that Applied is working on a multichamber epi tool on the Centura platform, with one HVPE chamber and two MOCVD chambers, and with in-situ cleaning to speed up the
cycle time,'' he said.
''It likely will use lamp heating for better temperature control for defining sharp interfaces and will be targeting a 2X improvement in uniformity, 50 percent reduction in cycle time, and a 50 percent improvement in quantum efficiency. The takeaway here is that the tool and the approach is still far from proven--but we will likely start to hear more on this front with the market focused on whether or not TSMC will actually place orders for the tool in the next 3-6 month timeframe,'' he added.