Fuji Chimera: micro-LEDs are not yet ready to take over the AR microdisplay market

Fuji Chimera Research Institute says that the global microdisplay market reached $161 million in 2018, led by LCoS panels (59.7%) and OLED panels (27.8%).

VueReal micro-led microdisplay prototype photo

While some analysts expect Micro-LED to take over the AR microdisplay market, Fuji Chimera says that the technology is not mature enough and there are some technology challenges to overcome still - including those in epitaxial wafer process, mass transfer, defect detection and current drive.

We talk Micro-LED technology and market with Yole Développement

Market research firm Yole Développement has been following the Micro-LED market for some years with some very interesting insights and forecasts.

Zine Bouhamri photo (Yole)

Yole's technology & market analyst Zine Bouhamri was kind enough to discuss Yole's Micro-LED views with us. Mr. Zine is is a member of the Photonics, Sensing & Display division at Yole and he's deeply involved in the business development of the Displays unit activities.

n-Tech sees a very bright future for Micro-LED displays, starting in 2019

n-tech Research says that the Micro-LED market will emerge in 2019, with sales reaching $2.7 billion. The market will grow very quickly to reach over $70 billion in 2027.

MicroLED display market forecast (2018-2027, n-Tech)

n-Tech says that the immediate markets for Micro-LED displays will be near-eye displays (AR/VR), automotive HUDs and projectors - as these will benefit mostly from the small size, low weight, high brightness and high resolution of Micro-LED displays. Wearables (smartwatches) is another lucrative market (n-Tech sees $1.6 billion in smartwatch Micro-LED display sales in 2022).

Yole: LCoS, DLP and MicroLED displays to dominate the AR market

Yole Developpement says that there are still several challenges to solve before AR systems that are good enough for mass usage are developed. Yole sees the market finally emerging in 2022 or 2023.

AR display forecasts (2018-2027, Yole Developpement)

Yole sees three display technologies dominating this market - DLP, LCoS and MicroLED displays. OLEDs are very promising for this market as of today, but by the time AR systems are mass produced (2022/2023) MicroLED displays will prove better than OLEDs.

ITRI is developing new Micro-LED displays for small-size and large-size applications

Digitimes reports that Taiwan's ITRI institute is developing new micro LED displays for both small-size and large-size application.

ITRI 0.55'' Micro-LED Microdisplay prototype photo

For small-size displays, ITRI is developing a 0.55-inch micro-LED microdisplays (on-silicon). This display is aimed for AR or VR devices. For this display ITRI uses 10-micron LEDs. For larger-sized application, ITRI is focused on displays over 130-inch in size. For such displays ITRI adopts 50-100 micron LEDs on PCB substrates.

Plessey's Quanta-Brite and Quanta-Ray micro-LED microdisplay technologies explained

Yesterday we reported that Plessey partnered with AR supplier Vuzix to bring Micro-LED display engine, Quanta-Brite, for next generation AR Smart Glasses - which Vuzix expects to introduce in 2019.

An interesting article at LED Inside explains Plessey Semiconductor's technology. The Quanta-Brite display engine is not a 'true' Micro-LED display - it is an LCoS or DMD (digital mirror) display engine that is lit by a micro-LED array and special optics. Usual LCoS and DMD displays are lit by larger LEDs, and Plessey claims that its micro-LED solution will provide a more efficient and more uniform display.

Vuzix and Plessey to co-develop MicroLED based AR glasses, aiming to commercialize a first device by 2019

UK-based GaN-on-Si MicroLED developer Plessey Semiconductor announced that it has partnered with AR supplier Vuzix to develop advanced Micro-LED display engines for Vuzix waveguide optics to enable next generation AR Smart Glasses. Vuzix expects to introduce the Micro-LED microdisplay based AR glasses in 2019.

Plessey MicroLED HUD prototype (CES 2018)

Vuzix says that Plessey's Quanta-Brite light engine is highly efficient and bright, and will enable smaller and more efficient AR devices. The Quanta-Brite engine is based on Plessey's advanced and proprietary gallium-nitride-on-silicon (GaN-on-Si) technology, with an integrated monolithic array of RGB pixels with advanced micro-optical elements.

Digitimes: Apple is collaborating with TSMC on Wearable/VR/laptop Micro-LED displays, first displays will enter production by early 2019

Earlier this month Bloomberg reported that Apple is progressing with its Micro-LED development project, and has already managed to produce promising display samples. Now Taiwan's Digitimes reports that Apple is collaborating with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) towards mass production of Micro-LED panels.

Apple Watch photo

Apple and TSMC are focusing on small-sized micro-LEDs on silicon based backplanes, targeting both wearable devices and AR applications. The Micro-LED microdisplays for AR applications will be around 0.7-0.8 inch in size, while the wearable panels will be larger at 1.3-1.4 inch.