LEDinside: Next Generation Market and Application of Micro LED

2017 Micro LED International Symposium, organized by the Consortium for Intelligent Micro-assembly System (CIMS), is held today (November 3) at Taipei Marriot Hotel to look into the value chain of Micro LED and discuss its business opportunities and connection with AR/VR devices in the era of artificial intelligence (AI).

Roger Chu, Research Director of LEDinside addressed the trend of Micro LED development in 2018. (Image: LEDinside)

Roger Chu, Research Director of LEDinside, indicates that because µLED has recently become popular, more and more players pay attention to this technology. Startups which hold patents or special techniques become the targets of M&A. In recent years, there has been incremental reporting about M&As. In particular, it is reported that above 100 startups around the world are competing against time developing Micro LED now. Undoubtedly, more companies are sure to emerge. 

Although each piece of mass transfer technique is innovative, its yield rate and production volume stand in a trade-off relationship at the current stage. Therefore, the key to winning for each technology lies in how to increase both yield rate and production volume at the same time.

In terms of the manufacture of Micro LED, although companies have found solutions to resolve problems during the process, the biggest issue is that few companies can hit the mass production phase. From production of epitaxy, inspection to mass transfer, testing and repair, there are a lot of problems waiting to be solved, making the mass production of Micro LED hard to carry out.

Because the mass production of Micro LED is hard to realize and the system manufacturers have waited for above three to five years, many manufacturers release mini LED. Compared with micro LED, the chip size of mini LED is bigger (100~200µm), between the size of traditional standard LED and that of micro LED. Thus, for many LED manufacturers, the current equipment can be used without increasing CAPEX again.

However, Mini LED technology comes as a transition technology before micro LED. Therefore, the life cycle is expected to be shorter.

In terms of the Mini LED backlight applications, there are various backlight products currently under development. LEDinside believes that more and more mini LED products will appear in the following two years. As for whether consumers will place orders or not, it will depend on further observation upon the relationship between value-added and cost.

We all know that both APPLE and SONY are buckling themselves down to micro LED development presently. However, under the limitation of current technology, these manufacturers choose different techniques to realize mass production.

Besides that fact that SONY demonstrated novel Micro LED products, Samsung is also trying to introduce LED cinema screens. Shortcomings of cinema projectors include poor contrast and dimmer image when viewing with 3D glasses. Samsung wants to address these issues with LED displays. Although Samsung is currently testing the idea with conventional fine-pitch LED display, Mini LED or Micro LED may become options in the future.

As for Micro LED TVs, it is highly difficult to bring about such products in the short term. However, we have found that many companies hope to use Mini LEDs as the light source for direct type backlights in TVs. Mini LED backlight units will also significantly raise the LED usage volume. For example, a 65-inch TV may need nearly 20,000 pcs of Mini LED chips. Advantages of Mini LED backlight include improved brightness, and better contrast. By using mini LED chips with special films or substrates to narrow the optical distance can also make a thinner TV panel.

In addition to displays that compete with OLED technology, another field is projection application. Currently, the projector application is in HMD. There are opportunities for micro LED in both AR and VR applications. Because the distance from HMD and human eyes is short, PPI needs to be very high.

PPI changes based on user’s viewing distance. To avoid the shortcomings of low resolution, such as grid illusion and low image quality, AR/VR displays for short-distance viewing requires higher resolution. Also, the displays which they use should be lightweight and self-emissive, such as Micro LED or OLED.

AR devices is used both indoor and outdoor. Therefore, in terms of display specification for AR devices, it needs at least to be in the range of 5000~10000 nits to receive better viewing quality.

For AR/VR wearable devices, the sub-pixel size of a display is about 3-5 μm, which is much smaller than that of normal displays for non-wearable devices. Because those devices tend to be light, their displays depend more on the self-emissive feature. Thus, backlit displays will not be considered. Micro LED or OLED is more likely to be adopted.

Self-emissive displays are very different from backlit displays. They do not require e heavy backlight modules and can reduce the total weight in order to avoid user’s uncomfortable feeling after using for a long time. Self-emissive Micro LED or OLED will become enticing options. Also, AR needs to blend in the environment quickly when running. Therefore, the display’s response time has to be as low as possible. Micro LED has rather low response time, which meets the requirement. On top of that, Micro LED is so far the only one technology that can meet the requirement of high brightness.

Considering all these, the key to commercializing Micro-LED is to strike a balance between cost and value-added. Current display technology we have right now is relatively mature and the price war is also pretty heated up, so if µLED Display doesn’t have more value-added to cover its high cost, it will be really hard to see when the commercialization will happen.






2018  Micro LED Next Generation Display Industry Member Report

Overview and Outlook:

Micro / Mini LED Industry Overview and Outlook

Overview and Outlook:

Micro / Mini LED Industry Overview and Outlook

Micro / Mini LED Market Development

Micro / Mini LED Technology Progress and Challenges

Micro / Mini LED Application Progress and Outlook

Micro LED Transfer Technology Analysis


Quarterly Update / Annual (January, April, July, October)

Micro LED Market Trend- Projection

Micro LED in Projection Market Trend
(Market Scale, Current Technology, Major Players)

Micro LED Industry Technology Analysis

Micro LED Driver Technology
Micro LED Backplane Technology
Transfer Technology Analysis

Micro / Mini LED Market Trend- TV

Micro / Mini LED in TV Market Trend
(Market Scale, Current Technology, Major Players, Micro / Mini LED Potential)

Customized Report / Consulting Service: LEDinside Keeps the Right to Adjust the Contents, Depending on Industry Development Trend.

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