Oct 4, 2016: Micro-LEDs, the next-generation display technology, have the potential to replace OLEDs, not only in displays but also in a variety of other applications. The LED industry has already started considering to use micro-LEDs to make large displays, expressed industry experts at LED forum 2016, organised by LEDinside, a division of the global market research firm TrendForce.
Application beyond displays
The potential applications of this next-generation display technology go beyond display systems. Micro-LEDs have several value-added opportunities that may result in expansion and reshuffling of a variety of component chains.
The global LED market is likely to grow at a CAGR of just 2% from 2016 to 2021, according to a report by LEDinside. Hence, the industry is now looking to explore new application markets to overcome the restrictions of its development.
Opens business opportunities
One of the speakers pointed out that since OLED technology has already entered the phase of significant expansion, and almost all important OLED patents are being controlled by South Korean technology companies. Hence,new companies willing to enter this market, have limited chances to catch up with the established companies. Therefore, companies are exploring new markets like micro-LEDs to get more business opportunities.
Has advantages over LEDs and OLEDs
Micro-LEDs are indeed loaded with a number of advantages. The light emitted at every pixel on a micro-LED display can be controlled individually, as the size of LEDs is scaled down to micron level. The other core benefits include enhanced color saturation, lower power consumption, extremely high resolution, and greater brightness.Further, micro-LEDs can even be combined with flexible substrates, which will help to create curved displays equivalent to the ones based on OLEDs. With such capabilities, micro-LEDs have an extensive range of application options.
If all wearable devices and public displays are replaced with micro-LEDs, then it will consume almost 50% of the existing LED production capacity on a global basis, according to a recent report by LEDinside. The report also revealed that if all smartphones adopt micro-LED technology, then it will consume four times as much of the worldwide capacity.
“There are still numerous technological bottlenecks that have to be addressed in the course of developing micro-LED displays,” said Chu. “The most critical juncture is the mass transfer of micron-sized LEDs onto substrates. Finding a solution to this challenge will also open up the possibility of mass transferring other microelectronic components, including sensors.”
Technological bottlenecks need to be addressed
However, micro-LEDs have certain technological blockages that need to be addressed. The most crucial challenge is the mass transfer of micro-sized LEDs onto substrates. Hence, it is vital to find a feasible solution to this challenge as it will help in opening new possibilities like mass transferring other microelectronic components such as sensors.Micro-LEDs offer adequate pixel pitch to add different sensors that are on the displays of smartphones. The development of micro-LED displays for smartphones is expected to facilitate incorporation of optical and fingerprint sensors, according to industry experts.
Such development comes about as an added benefit that the existing OLED technology does not have. Therefore, it is likely that micro-LEDs will expand into a variety of display applications. Further, this technology has the potential to create added values for end devices.