MicroLED Displays: Getting Ready for the Future?

This is a sponsored article by Dr Xiaoxi He, Principal Analyst, IDTechEx

MicroLED, believed by many to be the next generation of display technology, has been pursued by players of LED, display, OEM, materials and so on. Differentiated from LCD and OLED, microLED is considered to be the only display technology that has no size limitation. What are the potential applications? What are the hypes and realities? These are questions addressed in the brand-new IDTechEx report, “Micro-LED Displays 2020-2030: Technology, Commercialization, Opportunity, Market and Players”.

Various Motivations Are Driving the Progress of MicroLED Displays

Samsung Display has announced it is ending the LCD business and will focus on its QD LCD & OLED businesses. LG Display has halted its domestic production of LCD panels. Korean vendors tend to reduce their LCD panel production and shift to QLED & OLED. In addition, Panasonic and JDI are also getting out of the LCD business. AUO, Innolux and a few other Taiwanese companies are slowing down investment in LCD or OLED. As a comparison, LCD manufacturing is shifting to mainland China due to cost competence, new line production efficiency and industry chain support.

Epistar and Lextar to merge, focus on miniLEDs and microLEDs for future growth

Epistar and Lextar announced plans to establish a joint holding company, effectively merging the two companies.

The plan is to delist both companies from Taiwan's stock exchange and list the new company by the end of October 2020. The two companies will continue to operate independently, but the holding company's main focus for its future revenue growth will be on mini LEDs and microLEDs products and technologies.

Helio Display Materials develops perovskite-based materials for the display indsutry

Helio Display Materials, based in the UK, was spun-off from both Oxford and Cambridge University, to commercialize photoluminescent and electroluminescent perovskite-based materials for the display industry - with solutions for the OLED, LCD and Micro-LED markets.

A flexible perovskite LED prototype panel (Helio)

Our sister site, Perovskite-Info, posted an interview with Helio's CEO, Simon B. Jones, discussing the company's technology and business.

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.