As LED growth switches from backlights to home lamps, phosphors gain importance

July 31, 2012 — NanoMarkets issued a new white paper on LED phosphors, "LED Lighting Driving Demand for New Phosphors," that covers the shifting use of phosphors, which modulate the light emitted by LEDs, from LCD backlighting to solid-state lighting.

Today, the majority of phosphors used in light-emitting diodes (LEDs) go into LCD backlighting units. Blue LEDs are coated with yellow or other down-conversion phosphors to make “white” LEDs. In the next several years, saturation will slow growth for LED-based backlighting, phosphor prices will fall, LED-per-unit values will be reduced, display demand will soften, and backlight-free display technologies like active matrix organic light-emitting diodes (AMOLEDs) will take over market share in smartphones/tablets and TVs, NanoMarkets reports.

Figure. Phosphor growth for LED applications, 2012-2019. SOURCE: NanoMarkets.

The situation is very different in the solid-state lighting sector. In fact, a major shift is occurring in the lighting industry toward more-efficient, longer-lifetime, LED-based lighting, which will more than make up for the slowing display market. Governments are encouraging use of higher-efficiency lighting products with new regulations and subsidies. Since LEDs are potentially more efficient than any other alternative lighting source, LED lighting will preferentially enjoy the benefits of these mandates.

Going forward, growth in sales of LED phosphors will be driven by sales to the LED lighting industry. Backlighting LEDs are growing at <5% annually; LED lighting is growing at about 30% compound annual growth rate (CAGR), by LED count.

Better phosphors are needed to bring LED lighting into wider use. Phosphors are one of the keys to achieving the ambitious LED lighting market penetration goals and differentiating the quality of LED lighting products versus other technologies, NanoMarkets reports. Phosphors can improve the quality of LED light to meet what consumers want, an important factor when LEDs are still many times more expensive than incandescent bulbs.

NanoMarkets tracks and analyzes emerging market opportunities in energy, electronics and other markets created by developments in advanced materials. Access the white paper at

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