MiniLEDs are often described as a stepping stone, bridging the technology and application gap between traditional LEDs and microLEDs. However, there is no commonly accepted definition of either term and as the names suggest, size is a critical aspect, note Yole's analysts. Building on a consensus from the many companies surveyed, Yole defines microLEDs as being typically below 50µm along their sides, although the bulk of the activity is skewed toward smaller dimensions, typically in the 3-15µm range.
By default, miniLEDs fill the size gap between microLEDs and traditional LEDs. But more than size, the technology and manufacturing infrastructure requirements and the applications differentiate the two. While microLEDs require major technology breakthroughs in assembly and die structure, as well as a significant overhaul of the manufacturing infrastructure, miniLED chips are just scaled-down traditional LEDs. They can be manufactured in existing fabs with no or little additional investment.
On the application side, microLEDs’ promise high pixel density self-emissive displays while miniLEDs can be used to upgrade existing Liquid Crystal Displays (LCDs) with ultra-thin, multi-zone local dimming backlight units (BLU) that enable form factors and contrast performance close to or better than Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLEDs).
On the business-to-business side, miniLEDs are promising for the realization of cost-effective, narrow pixel pitch LED direct view displays used in digital signage applications such as in retail, corporate and control room applications. The report discusses the different chip structures considered for the various applications.