Q&A with the CEO of MicroLED driver and backplane developer SAPIEN

SAPIEN Semiconductors, based in Korea, is a fabless design company that provides innovative PWM CMOS backplane and µ-driver ICs for Micro-LED displays. The company utilizes its own patented technologies to achieve lower power consumption, lower leakage, better repairability and improved testability.

In the following interview, we discuss the company’s technology and business with its CEO, Myunghee Lee.

Q: Hello Mr. Lee, thank you for your time. Can you give us a short introduction to SAPIEN and your microLED technologies?

SAPIEN specializes in developing CMOS Backplane SoCs (System-on-Chip) for Micro-LED display applications. SAPIEN was founded in 2017 by industry veterans who have over 230 years of combined design experience in Display Driver ICs (DDI).

We talk lasers in the microLED industry with Bolite Optoelectronics' CEO

The founder and General Manager of Bolite Optoelectronics, Dr. Bowen Cheng, was invited to present at the recent Touch Taiwan 2021 Conference in April. The title of his talk was “Laser Processing Applications for the Manufacturing of Mini and MicroLED Displays.” Since it was presented in Mandarin only, microled-info.com caught up with Dr. Cheng to learn more about this trending subject and the company he started.

Laser repair equipment for TFT arrays (Bolite in partnership with Contrel Technology)

Q: Dr. Cheng, can you please tell us a little about your background, prior to starting Bolite?

I was a research engineer at Xerox PARC and helped develop surface micromachined microspring interconnects in a project funded by the U.S. Army Research in collaboration with Oracle. I was also a vital member of the team that successfully demonstrated the world’s shortest wavelength diode laser at the time, a 250 nm UV laser for military applications. With these experiences in both semiconductor laser processing and MEMS processing, I decided to start Bolite and build a team to develop state-of-the-art laser solutions for microprocessing applications.

Q: I must admit I’ve not heard of Bolite before. What differentiates you from other laser microprocessing companies?

eLux installs a new automated fluidic assembly R&D tool, unveils a new microLED display prototype

USA-based eLux was established in 2016 as a spin-off from Sharp Labs of America, to commercialize a unique MicroLED production technology. A year ago we discussed the company's technology and business with its CEO, Jong-Jan Lee.

eLux automated fulidic assembly tool, 2021

Today eLux announced that it has installed an automated fluidic assembly tool at its prototype fab in Taiwan. The new tool features fully automatic cassette-to-cassette fluidic assembly of ten display panels, each up to 15-inch in size. The tool has provisions for capture and recycle of microLEDs and assembly fluids to minimize operating costs, and its capacity can be expanded by adding two additional modules.

STAr Technologies introduces a new integrated test system for MicroLED devices

Taiwan-based STAr Technologies launched a new inspection system for MicroLEDs and mini-LEDs devices. the Unicorn-LAIT is an integrated system with parallel test instrument, probe station and probe cards and can meet mass production needs.

STAr Technologies' Unicorn LAIT Micro LED test system photo

STAr says that its new system enables alignment of up to 6-inch wafers and probe cards for automatic probing test. The parallel test instrument will be based on STAr Taurus-LPX with PMU capable of performing 48 to a maximum of 240 LEDs in parallel. Attributed to the efficient system structure, The STAr Unicorn-LAIT is suitable for the LED industry chip maker and optical devices manufacturer.

CyberOptics reports $600k in MicroLED inspection systems sales in Q4 2020, expects significant MicroLED system sales growth in the long-term

High-precision 3D sensing developer CyberOptics Corporation reported its financial results for Q4 2020 - revenues were $16.9 million, pretty much unchanged from Q4 2019, while net income was $1.5 million. For the full-year 2020, revenues were $70.1 million and the net income was $5.7 million.

Cyberoptics SQ3000 photo

CyberOptics reported $600,000 in sales of SQ3000 Multi-Function systems for MicroLED inspection in the quarter, and $4.6 million in full-year sales. The company anticipates more orders for MicroLED systems throughout 2021 and believes that microLED inspection and metrology applications present significant long-term growth opportunities.

Measuring and Correcting MicroLED Display Uniformity

This is a sponsored post by Radiant Vision Systems

Introduction

MicroLEDs (micro-LEDs, mLEDs, or µLEDs) continue to demonstrate performance advantages for displays, ushering in a new generation of backlit and direct-view illumination technology. MicroLED displays consist of an array of microscopic LEDs (light emitting diodes) that form the display’s individual subpixel elements. This inorganic emissive technology offers many benefits over rival display technologies, including higher brightness and contrast, wider color gamut, and higher pixel density. MicroLEDs enable improved visual performance in ambient-light conditions, from total darkness to full daylight and when viewed from multiple viewing angles. These qualities make microLEDs especially attractive for applications such as mobile phones and watches, augmented- and mixed-reality (AR/MR) headsets, automotive display panels, and digital signage.

Challenges associated with manufacturing high-quality microLED panels continue to hinder production efficiency and must be addressed before manufacturers can achieve commercially viable microLED display products. Producing displays with the level of visual quality customers expect while keeping component and production costs low demands quality control solutions that reduce waste while increasing yield of acceptable displays.

CyberOptics reports strong traction in 3D microLED metrology equipment

High-precision 3D sensing developer CyberOptics Corporation announced its financial results for Q2 2020, with $16 million in sales and a net profit of $1.6 million. The company says it is enjoying a "first-mover status" in the microLED inspection and metrology market.

Cyberoptics SQ3000 photo

CyberOptics says that at the end of the quarter it received a $2.5 million order for SQ3000 Multi-Function systems for micro LED applications, and additional micro LED-related orders are anticipated during the second half of 2020.

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.