In November 2017 we reported that Taiwan's Electronic and Optoelectronic System Research Laboratories (EOSRL, part of ITRI) has launched a project that brings together PlayNitride, LED driver IC designer Macroblock and PCB maker Unimicron with an aim to develop production technologies for high-density Micro-LED displays.
Digitimes today reports that EOSRL has achieved a breakthrough in its mass transfer technology, and is now able to transfer 10,000 micro-LED chips from an sapphire-based epitaxial wafer onto a substrate within an hour. EOSRL demonstrated the process with PCB, Polyimide and glass substrates. Trial production runs will commence in Q4 2019.
This could be an impressive feat, but still limited in scope. A 4K display has over 24 million sub pixels - which means that it will take over 2400 hours (100 days!) to build a single 4K display using this process. Of course it could be that EOSRL is targeting very low resolution displays (perhaps for wearable applications), although earlier information suggested that EOSRL is targeting large-area and large resolution signage displays.
PlayNitride's part of the project is to develop Micro-LED wafers without a sapphire substrate. The PCBs will be developed by Unimicron and EOSRL is developing a mass-transfer technology (to move the LEDs from the wafers to the PCBs). Macroblock is developing the driver ICs.
In September 2017 it was reported that EOSRL is developing 60-100 inch indoor micro-LED displays in collaboration with Macroblock. It may be that this is the same project but now we have more details and a couple of new partners.