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18 July 2007


SDK expanding monthly blue LED chip capacity to 200m units by June 2008

After receiving orders for its GaN-based blue LEDs this year at a rate far exceeding its original expectations, Showa Denko K.K. (SDK) of Tokyo, Japan has decided to invest JPY5bn to expand production capacity of gallium nitride-based blue LED chips at its Chiba site ahead of schedule, to 200 million units per month by June 2008. This is in addition to its ongoing expansion (announced in February) from 30 million to 100 million units per month by the end of 2007 (capacity is currently 60 million units per month).

While GaN-based blue LEDs are currently used in mobile phones and displays, demand is expected to grow at an annual rate of nearly 20% in the next five years, due mainly to the development of applications such as LCD backlighting, says SDK.

To produce blue LED chips, SDK is using its new Hybrid PPD process, which combines the conventional metal organic chemical vapor deposition process and SDK’s proprietary plasma-assisted physical deposition (PPD) process for growing nitride-based semiconductor crystals.

The new process technology enables the use of high-quality four-inch epitaxial wafers (which is not possible with the conventional MOCVD process, the firm claims). SDK therefore aims to improve product quality and strengthen its competitive position, while achieving the high-brightness emission.

*Under the ongoing ‘Passion Project’ medium-term consolidated business plan, SDK is aggressively expanding its ultrabright LED business, centering on GaN-based blue/green LEDs and AlGaInP-based red/orange/yellow/ yellowish green LEDs. SDK is positioning the business as one of its ‘new growth driver’ businesses, allocating resources correspondingly. SDK is planning to increase annual sales of its ultrabright LED chips to JPY20bn by 2008.

See related items:

Showa Denko develops hybrid growth process for GaN-based blue/white LEDs

SDK expands capacity for AlGaInP ultra bright LED chips