OLEDs too costly, micro-LEDs to steal the show promises Canadian startup

May 23, 2017 // By Julien Happich
Coming out of stealth, year-old Canadian startup VueReal announced the development of a 4K micro-LED array boasting a 6000ppi resolution, a world's first for an emissive display according to the company.

The announcement made mentions of a so-called Continuous Pixelation technology, eeNews Europe got in touch with Reza Chaji, VueReal's founder and CEO to get a few more details.

Chaji received his PhD in Electrical & Computer Engineering in 2008 from the University of Waterloo (Canada) where he developed a novel AMOLED pixel driver architecture to dramatically reduce settling times and parasitic capacitance while boosting circuit gains. But although he spent many years working with OLEDs, Chaji and his team are now fully focused on micro-LEDs.

Having worked extensively with OLEDs, the CEO says he understands too well their limitations, notably when operating them at high brightness or at high temperature.

"There are two big challenges with OLEDs, their low performance when you make individual pixels too small and yield in high-throughput manufacturing", Chaji says.

"It costs too much if you have to repair thousands of defective OLEDs pixels in a panel with millions of pixels. One beautiful thing about LEDs compared to OLEDs is that the equipment to produce them costs only a fraction of the equipment required for OLEDs. The LED industry is mature, and we've developed the technology to transfer millions of those into a display", the CEO continued.

"As for flexibility, it is very difficult to make a flexible OLED display without causing damage to the OLED encapsulant. We achieve much easier flexibility with our micro-LEDs and they are much brighter, over 4,000 nits for LEDs versus 500 to 700 nits typically for OLEDs" said Chaji.

"We have solved the yield and pitch issues for micro displays, we can have a sub-micron pitch, that's what we call our Continuous Pixelation technology because you can't see the pixels. Then we can transfer the micro-LEDs to a flexible substrate thanks to our patented Solid Printing technology and be cost competitive with OLEDs on smartphones and mid-size screens for tablets" boasted the CEO, "and much cheaper for larger panels like TVs".

"The maths is simple, considering that for a UHD micro-display (3840×2160 pixels), you pay per pixels, if we make them smaller, then we make the overall display cheaper too". In effect, the 6000ppi 4K micro-LED array is just about 0.7" in diagonal and is claimed to surpass the performance of DLPs (with a higher contrast, a lower power consumption, a lower footprint and no requirement for a light engine).