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Recent Micro-LED News

Apple, AUO and Epistar to establish a $334 million mini-LED and micro-LED production fab in Taiwan?

According to a report from Taiwan's Economic Daily news, a new mini-LED and micro-LED display factory is under planning in Taiwan's Hsinchu Science Park. The new fab is built by Apple (who will invest $334 million) in collaboration with AU Optronics and Epistar.

AUO 12.1'' Micro-LED display prototype (IFA 2018)

According to the report, the Science Park Administartion approved Apple, Auo and Epistar's plan on February 18. The new fab will act as an expansion of Apple's existing display center in Taiwan.

Sapphire nano-membranes enable higher-efficiency microLEDs

Researchers from Seoul National University (SNU) in collaboration with KAIST, SAIT and the Korea Photonics Institute developed a new method to deposit MicroLEDs on sapphire nano-membranes which enables chip singulation without an etching process. This method can enable higher efficiency MicroLED devices.

MicroLEDs grown on sapphire nano-membranes (SNU)

The researchers say that this method improves the internal quantum efficiency (IQE) of the microLEDs by 44% compared to standard GaN microLEDs produced on regular planar substrates. The microLEDs also featured a reduced dislocation density (by 59.6%). According to their tests, the microLEDs provided 3.3X the photoluminescence compared to regular microLEDs.

Compound Photonics says its microLED digital backplane is now available for microLED microdisplay developers

Compound Photonics (CP) announced that its high-performance digital backplane is available for microLED developers to integrate into complete microdisplay subsystems. CP re-engineered its existing LCoS backplane to drive microLED pixels. The backplane supports 0.26" FHD displays.

Plessey and Compound Photonics 0.26'' microLED display module photo

microLED developers can utilize this backplane and also use CP’s monolithic integrated display module that supports a direct MIPI input and 240Hz refresh rates, packaged into a compact subsystem.

AR MicroLED contact lens developer Mojo Vision raises $51 million

AR developer Mojo Vision, announced that it has raised $51 million in its B-1 round. The company has raised more than $159 million to date. The fund was led by New Enterprise Associates, and several strategic VCs participated, including Dolby Family Ventures and Motorola Solutions Venture Capital.

Mojo Vision microLED contact lenses generations image (January 2020)

Mojo Vision, still in an R&D stage, develops micro-LED powered AR contact lenses. In June 2019, AR developer Mojo Vision announced that it developed a 14k sub-pixel PPI Micro-LED microdisplay, to power its upcoming AR platform.

MicroLED Microdisplays - quick market snapshot

This article is an extract from The MicroLED Handbook, 2020 edition, and gives a short introduction to the current market status of MicroLED Microdisplays. The handbook was published in January 2020 - there has been some updates since then, for example Plessey's recent soft-acquisition by Facebook and MICLEDI's technology was revealed.

There are several companies that develop microLED microdisplays, and these are gearing up to begin mass production of displays soon. It is likely that microdisplays will be the first type of commercial displays enabled by microLED technology.

AUO and PlayNitride co-developed a 9.4" 228 PPI flexible automotive-grade microLED display

AU Optronics and PlayNitride announced that the two companies have developed a 9.4" 228 PPI flexible microLED display. The new display is driven by an LTPS backplane and the two companies say it delivers a large color gamut, is weather resistance and it is suitable for automotive applications.

AUO and PlayNitride 9.4-inch 228 PPI flexible micro LED display prototype photo

AUO and PlayNitride has been collaborating on microLED display technologies for many years. In early 2019, AUO announce it plans to accelerate its development of Micro-LED products. The company previous prototype was a 12.1" 1920x720 (169 PPI) panel. In September 2019 AUO's president said that he expects Micro-LED displays to enter the market within 1-2 years, starting with large-area signage and small-sized VR displays.

Yole Developpement: the rate of MicroLED patent filing is rising exponentially

Yole Developpement reports that about 5,500 microLED patents (2,500 patent families) have been filed, by more than 350 organizations. The rate of patent filing is growing exponentially - 40% of the patents were filed in 2019.

Patent publication timeline (2001-2019, Yole Developpement)

According to Yole, the recent patent filing shows that the industry is moving from prototypes to commercial consumer displays. Other notable new finding include that startup companies are a major innovation force, Apple is slowing down with its IP (but this could mean that the company is now focused on commercialization), and Samsung pursues multiple development tracks. BOE is another strong microLED IP player, with almost 150 patent familiies filed in 2019.

ALLOS and Veeco up-scale GaN-on-Si microLED production technology to 300 mm wafers

German-based GaN-on-Si developer ALLOS has applied its technology to large 300 mm epiwafers. ALLOS says that scaling up to 300 mm wafers enables higher production efficiencies and thus lower costs. ALLOS estimates that the higher area utilization alone accounts for a cost advantage of 40% compared to standard LED wafers. Standard 300 mm silicon line tools also offer higher production uniformity and yield.

Scaling up from 100 mm to 300 mm silicon wafers (ALLOS Semi)

ALLOS demonstrated the 300 mm scale-up using a reactor made by Veeco who announced selling the first 300 mm GaN reactor to a leading-edge semiconductor fab just some month ago and also showed 300 mm wafer data at CES. ALLOS reports a wavelength uniformity of consistently below 1 nm and "all other production requirements like bow of < 40 µm and SEMI-standard thickness of 725 µm". ALLOS says scaling to 300 mm shows how robust its GaN-On-Si technology is.