Covid-19 boost for microLED market

August 14, 2020 // By Nick Flaherty
Covid-19 boost for microLED market
The Covid-19 pandemic could see a key change in the supply chain for display technology, with a boost for microLED displays says a report from IDTechEx

Involving multiple existing industries and new industries, micoLED displays may shape the existing LED and display supply chain, resulting in a lengthy and complex new one says a new report from IDTechEx. New technology approaches and new products can also provide new opportunities for the players, such as the CMOS industry can take a position in the microLED display supply chain.

The microLED market will be driven by augmented/mixed reality (AR/MR), virtual reality (VR), large video displays, TVs and monitors, automotive displays, mobile phones, smart watches and wearables, tablets and laptops.

The increasing number of activities from display suppliers can be seen from the large cumulated investment of around $5 billion, the increasing number of patent filing, as well as the prototypes/products brought in by microLED vendors. These include AUO, PlayNitride, RiTdisplay, Samsung, LG, Sony, TCL, Tianma, Konka, Glo, Plessey, JBD, X-Display, VueReal, CSOT, Sharp, Kyocera, etc.

However, prototypes to prove technology/science readiness with lab/fab scale production are very different from mass manufactured commercial products. The latter requires zero defects for consumer products. Although science has been proved there, what are more challenging are the engineering and manufacturing issues.

For instance, conventional LEDs can reach external quantum efficiencies (EQEs) to around 70 percent, while tiny microLEDs less than 10 µm may struggle to reach 20 percent. Red LEDs are especially challenging with low EQEs and brittle feature. Tiny microLEDs have a large surface area, which may lead to more defects during the fabrication process. Therefore, solving engineering/manufacturing challenges is important, including die size miniaturization while maintaining the high efficiency, chip design and chip manufacturing technique improvement. Other issues include mass transfer yield, defect repair, testing, uniformity, colour conversion, etc.

Next: MicroLED fabrication

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