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Picoprojectors Drive Green Laser Market

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LYON, France, April 22, 2010 — Yole Développement released its new markets & technological study dedicated to green laser devices for projection applications. In this report, the company announces that picoprojectors will drive the green laser market. According to Yole, the market will reach about $500M in 2016 with more than 45 million devices.

Yole’s study provides a complete analysis of the projection applications targeted by the green laser diodes along with key market metrics. It describes the involvement of the major laser device manufacturers and gives a snapshot of the GaN material industry playground. The report presents the monetary and unit values on the 2009 – 2016 time scale for the green laser diode devices.

According to Yole, the green laser market today is highly segmented in numerous niche applications from medical to military applications and laser shows. Those applications can work with existing solid state lasers or the more recent combinations of semiconductor lasers with non linear crystals (SHG: second harmonic generation)

In the emerging market of picoprojectors and other display techniques such as head-mounted display (HMD) or head-up display (HUD), the ideal light emitting device would be lasers thanks to their capability to deliver highly saturated colors in the widest possible gamut. Additional features are focus-free operation and expected improved wall-plug efficiency, which will affect the power consumption for battery operation.

In 2009 however, the first LED based picoprojectors have been available on the marketplace with a slow take-off. No more than 300k units have been sold. The poor brightness (10 lm) for a relative high price might be a reason for this. In the same year some impressive progress has been published on the capability to shift the blue laser diodes towards the green wavelength. The direct-emission semiconductor laser should be available in the coming years (2011-2012) to serve the projection display applications.

Green laser diode market size will reach about $500M size by 2016 and should represent more than 45 million devices: 

    • Stand-alone projectors: Yole forecasts this market to really take-off by 2010 with a sales volume in between 0.5 to 1 M units. During this first phase, most of it will be LED-based but the company forecasts 10-20 percent will be laser-based by 2011 and that ratio will grow to 50-75 percent by 2016. Yole also envisions a natural move from stand-alone to embedded device as the technology will little-by-little be compatible with size and cost constraints. 

    • Cell Phone: that market will start late 2010 with high-end devices (Samsung “Android”). Laser-based systems will be slowly implemented along with cost reduction, but Yole stays very conservative saying that LED will strongly dominate at least until 2016. According to the small size requirement, direct-emission green laser will be highly recommended. 

    • Media Players: that device is the perfect location for embedded picoprojectors. Its ultimate function is to diffuse and share media. There are less cost constraints and size issues com-pared to cell phone. The boom should occur by 2012 with 2.6 to 5 M units equipped with projection functionality. SHG green lasers should dominate first waiting for direct-emission to be price and performance-compatible. 

    • Camera and camcorder: “There, we forecast a slow market penetration for laser-based technologies as the battery life-time and cost can become critical parameters. LED technol-ogy should dominate in these applications,” said Regis Hamelin, Yole’s Market & Technology analyst. 

    • Laptop: that is probably the most unclear segment as it is hard to accurately predict about the behavior of consumers. The question is whether or not they will go for an all-in-one solution (PC plus projector) with an embedded projection device that will probably be less efficient than desktop projectors. Yole Développement remains very conservative on that application.

Green Laser diode technology: a move from SHG to direct emission sources

“Corning, Osram and QD Laser having each their proprietary solution to green light generation,” said Philippe Roussel, project manager at Yole. “However, given the complex package of these lasers, it seems difficult to reach a reasonable target price. Moreover, these components seem to suffer from a shortage situation.”

According to Yole, Sumitomo SEI, KAAI (UCSB) and Osram are the most advanced players for direct-emission green la-ser diodes. If performance meets the minimum requirements for optical power, wall-plug efficiency and lifetime, some of them could possibly offer products in limited quantities as soon as the middle of 2011.

The battle for direct-emission green source will also take place at substrate side where non-polar and semi-polar GaN crystal can play a very positive role in green wavelength emission.

Light engine module: A question of light-source cost

The light-engine module, combination of light source and image management (LCD, micro-mirrors, LCOS) is expected at a target price of $40, this implies a price target of $10 per color, red will not be a problem, however, GaN blue lasers have not reached that price target yet despite their maturity. Green laser will also have to stay in the $10 range to penetrate the market.

LED is a serious competitor

LED and HBLED are serious competitors since some picoprojectors are already announced with brightness of up to 30 lumens. The capability of lasers to deliver bright images becomes less ‘unique’. If the green and blue lasers from GaN based materials are not delivered in the expected target price, the market share for lasers could be limited to high end products.

For more information, visit:
Apr 2010
AmericasAsia-Pacificblue laser diodesBusinesscamcorderscamerascell phonesCorningdefensedirect-emission semiconductor laserdisplay technologiesDisplaysEuropegreen lasersgreen wavelengthhead-mounted displayhead-up displayKAAIlaptopslaser marketlaser showsLCDLCOSlight sourcesmedia playersMicro-mirrorsMiddle Eastnon linear crystalsOsramPhilippe RousselpicoprojectorsQD LaserRegis Hamelinsemiconductor lasersSolid State LasersSumitomo SEIYole DéveloppementLEDslasers

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