Laser Lighting Market in Japan: Key Research Findings 2019
Yano Research Institute (the President, Takashi Mizukoshi) has conducted a survey on semiconductor lasers used for lighting and has found out the global market size, the trends by product application, the trends of market players, and the future perspectives.
With its superiority in straightness, single-color, light density, and coherence, semiconductor laser (laser diode: LD) has been used for various purposes including laser disks, laser printers, and a variety of sensors. These characteristics have been treasured also for lighting purposes and applied to laser pointers, markers for construction sites, and projectors, but their potential is not yet fully utilized in other applications. The global number of semiconductor laser for lighting shipped at the makers for 2018 has reached 5,051 thousand modules, or 446,900 million yen. Currently, the full introduction of laser lighting is mainly those devices and appliance that use the straightness of laser. Other natures of laser, i.e., stable output, precision, and controllability have rarely been applied yet.
Laser pointers are, in some cases, used for notifying the existence of the user to the surrounding environment. For instance, in London, people put a laser pointer to the bicycle in order for other bicycles, automobiles and pedestrians to easily recognize, contributing to safer traffic. Most of those projectors using semiconductor laser are for office use, such as to be equipped in the meeting rooms. Especially, high brightness projectors with their luminous flux 5,000lm or more are popular. It is because the characteristics of the semiconductor lasers, such as straightness, focus-freeness, small in size, long life, and fast-response, match the needs of projectors used in offices.
In 2018 QD Laser, Inc. released “RETISSA® Display,” an eyewear that uses laser retinal scanning technology. It was the first time ever in the world to sell head mount display (HMD) equipped with three-color RGB semiconductor laser. There are new companies that have developed their technologies into a retinal scanning technology. One of such companies is Pixie Dust Technologies, the products of which have wide viewing angle together with wide eye-boxes enabled by developing a retinal scanning technology and by utilizing metamaterial-mirror-used retinal projection, developed through the national projects hosted by Japan Science and Technology Agency and NEDO (New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization).
When LED is used as the light source of HMD, often time half mirror is employed, which makes the viewing angle narrower and makes it difficult for the product to be small in size. On the other hand, a retinal scanning technology that employs semiconductor laser for light sources does not affect the viewing angle to become narrower, so that it has the potential of scaling down the size of the products. Adoption of semiconductor laser and LED is determined by such factors mentioned above, because the products are designed depending on the application, including material choices. When semiconductor laser is chosen, the product tends to be pricy, so that it is marketed as high-end in order for it to differentiate from the products made by other makers.
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