MUNICH, Germany A growth potential of 50 percent over the next six years forecasts IMS Research for semiconductors used in backlighting applications. Increasing use of LEDs in these applications will intensify the pressure on the competing cold cathode fluorescent lamp (CCFL) technology.
The British Market researcher expects that new applications such as LCD TVs and notebook computers will drive the market for LEDs in backlighting applications from $3 billion in 2006 to around $4.5 billion in 2012.
While LED backlighting is used in small displays in many portable applications for several years, the LED technology now is increasingly adopted in larger displays for applications such as notebook computers and LCD TV sets, IMS has found out. In these applications, LEDs start to displace CCFL as backlight source, with LED-backlit notebook computers being shipped starting 4Q2006.
With technology advancing, LEDs become brighter and light guides more efficient. Thus, IMS Research expects the number of LEDs required for a specific backlight application to decrease. This makes the use of LED as backlight source in large displays more economic. With increasing acceptance of LEDs in these applications, IMS predicts the market for CCFL to stall in growth. However, the researchers do not doubt that the CCFL technology still has headroom for improvement; they expect the manufacturers to answer with more sophisticated products. This, in turn will keep price pressure high. In addition, the IMS researchers expect innovative hybrid solutions which combine both technologies.
The market for ambient light sensors, closely related to the backlighting market, will sport a similar growth. Since in certain mobile applications such as cellular handsets the display eats up to 30 percent of the battery power, ambient sensors which automatically adjust the brightness of the backlight to the surrounding light conditions can help maximize battery use time, the market researchers say.