iBeam Materials Develops Paper-thin and Flexible Micro LED Display

iBeam Materials announced that it has successfully demonstrated the ability to make high-performance GaN Field-Effect Transistors (FETs) directly on thin, flexible and rollable metal foil substrates. These transistors can be produced without the need for a transfer step and can be integrated side-by-side with Micro LED emitters previously demonstrated by iBeam for use in a display. iBeam expects to see the technology available for large-scale manufacturing by 2022.

The advent of paper-thin, ultra-flexible Micro LED displays using iBeam technology eliminates the traditional restrictions for the form factor of displays, redefining what devices look like and opening up the potential for a new class of mobile, wearable, lighting and instrumentation products. With a tough but thin form factor and a high level of flexibility, large-area Micro LED displays made with iBeam technology can curve, bend and conform to various shapes, radically departing from traditional planar forms. In addition, Nicro LEDs offer extremely high brightness and much greater efficiency than traditional LCD and OLED displays.

(Image: iBeam)

"This breakthrough in technology is a game-changer and brings us much nearer to the holy grail of displays," said Vladimir Matias, founder and CEO of iBeam Materials. "We expect bright, bendable but tough, paper-thin and extremely power-efficient displays to enable entire new classes of products. The new technology will rewrite the rules for the shapes of displays and products that use them."

The mass availability of Micro LED displays depends both on technical achievement as well as practicality of mass production. The breakthrough of iBeam Materials' technology demonstration establishes that making these thin, rollable, next-generation displays is now feasible. Earlier technology breakthroughs from iBeam were also key to paving the way to Micro LED displays on flexible substrates, including the patented process that allows manufacturers to deposit devices directly on a variety of substrates such as thin, flexible large-area metal foils. Producing Micro LEDs directly on a metal foil substrate, the iBeam technology enables roll-to-roll mass production. iBeam plans to demonstrate the scalability of robust manufacturing processes and the ability to produce these displays at much lower capital and operational costs than traditional displays.

iBeam was spun-off from Los Alamos National Laboratory in late 2011 and established its headquarters and primary R&D facilities in Santa Fe, New Mexico. iBeam then collaborated with Sandia National Labs and the University of New Mexico under a DOE ARPA-E Project to develop GaN devices. Samsung Venture Investment Corporation has taken an investment position in iBeam and regards the development work as a strategic opportunity. In August 2019, Dr. Mike Krames, a leading authority on LED technology and an IEEE Fellow, joined the Board of Directors.

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