MicroLED architecture prepares for holographic displays

MicroLED architecture prepares for holographic displays

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By Nick Flaherty

Compound Photonics in the US has developed a new architecture for microLED displays for next generation holographic displays.

The IntelliPix Microdisplay Technology Platform incorporates multiple video pipelines and constant current design blocks to address power optimization, latency, and bandwidth use. It also includes a MIPI interface that enables pixel-to-pixel uniformity in sub-5-micron-pixel microLED display space for augmented and virtual reality (AR/MR) applications.

“IntelliPix integrates its real time video pipeline and programmable drive scheme with adjustable constant current iDrive or voltage driven (vDrive) options into a single chip solution,” said Edmund Passon, Co-CEO and CTO of Compound Photonics. “The overall technology advancement in IntelliPix enables up to 100x faster modulation while consuming 4x to 12x less system power across the video pipeline vs. CP’s previous platforms while unlocking the real potential for microLED and future phase –based holographic systems.”

“At its core, CP departs from the traditional full bandwidth, raster-based pipeline dating back to the birth of NTSC toward a data flow optimized for real-time AR applications,” he said. “Given AR imagery, in general, does not fill the entire field of view, only transmitting active pixel data results in the ability to drastically increase performance for those active pixels while reducing overall display sub-system power.”

Legacy video pipelines transport full frames/bandwidth to the display subsystem where every transition moves electrons reducing battery life. The key component of IntelliPix, called OnDemand Pixels, optimizes the drive of pixels based on both content and use environment. This provides significant power saving as the system modulates video parameters across the field of view, dependent on user activity.

This active pixel-based approach also enables for the bursts of increased performance by making more bandwidth and higher refresh rates available for demanding content regions. When combined with eye tracking, this supports foveated rendering.

The single-chip design eliminates traditional distinctions between display pixel drive (backplane) and display driver IC (DDIC) functions to reduce the overall physical volume and power consumption. This can reduce system size when combined with microLED array bonding, device packaging and testing, and optical engine designs. The increased modulation speed increase takes advantage of the faster response time of microLEDs, which can be applied to higher bit depth, refresh rates, or the ability to add multiple focal planes. For phase-based holographic systems, the 100x increase enables complex waveforms providing near zero ripple.

The IntelliPix Microdisplay Technology Platform will be available for demo in early 2021. The platform is customizable for resolutions up to 2048 x 2048 and beyond at pixel pitches from ~1.5um and up. CP is currently working with microLED technology partners and eco-system providers for initial early integration.

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