Integrated Image Capture: Potentially Key Advantage for MicroLED Displays

This is a guest article by IdeaFarm LLC

A potentially key advantage for microLED displays is the ability to effectively integrate far-field image sensing within the display because of the large “open” pixel area compared to other display technologies. The basic feasibility and advantages of integrating far-field image capture within a microLED display was reported on by IdeaFarm LLC at the recent Displayweek 2021 conference (the major worldwide display technology conference). IdeaFarm proposes to integrate an array of miniature wafer-based camera chips, “microcameras”, on the same substrate as microLEDs as part of the display manufacturing process (see diagram below for an illustration of the concept). Advanced real-time image processing is used to form high-resolution video by combining lower resolution video streams from multiple microcameras.

Under the microLED camera structure

Because of the recent increased attention to improving the videoconferencing experience and the ongoing drive to eliminate bezels and display cut-outs in mobile phones and other devices, interest in including image capture inside displays is growing rapidly. The number of technical papers presented at Displayweek related to including image capture inside the display grew from essentially zero in 2019 to eleven in 2021. So far, under-screen or under-display cameras have been demonstrated in mobile phones with OLED displays, but only one brand is actually shipping and the tradeoffs in image quality and visibility of the camera zone have been noted.

Digitimes: Micro-LEDs low aperture ratio makes them competitive for smart displays

Digitimes posted an interesting research note, in which they state that micro-LED displays may find it hard to compete with LCD and OLED displays as the market is approaching saturation.

Micro-LEDs have several advantages over other displays - high brightness, quick response time and the ability to create flexible and transparent displays (this is also true for OLEDs). However a major advantage for Micro LEDs is that the aperture ratio is only 10%, which means that there is a lot of empty space in a micro-LED display.