Dec 4, 2017: More and more LED manufacturers are turning to research and development of mini LED, as they see several technological bottlenecks in making micro-LED commercially successful in the near future, points out LEDinside, a division of TrendForce.
Companies involved in the development of mini LED products, including chip makers like Epistar, Lextar, San’an Optoelectronics, HC SemiTek; packaging companies like Everlight, Advanced Optoelectronic Technology, Harvatek, Seoul Semiconductor; IC designers like Macroblock, Raydium, etc., panel makers like AU Optronics, and Innolux Corporation, and digital display makers like Leyard.
Manufacturers can develop mini LED by using their existing equipment, with only small changes in the manufacturing process. With mini LED’s market revenue expected to reach US$1 billion in 2023, it will potentially find applications in televisions, mobile phones, automotive displays, digital displays, particularly in LED digital display and large-size TVs.
According to Simon Yang, Assistant Research Manager of LEDinside, mini LED chips of sizes 100-200μm can be used for self-emitting displays and backlighting. Sony has already released micro-LED display in 2016, which had very high cost and technological barriers. As a result, LED companies are making efforts to research on mini LED, which has larger chip size compared to micro-LED, and its mass production will be easier. Mini LED display will have high dynamic range imaging and wider color gamut, compared to traditional LED display.
However, the cost of using mini LED chips for a self-emitting display in consumer electronics products isstill too high, and the resolution may not meet the requirements of the existing products. Therefore, for the time being, companies want to use mini LED as backlight to replace traditional backlighting in LCD panel in TVs, mobile phones, automotive displays, etc.
However, development of mini LED also faces some challenges like high cost, as mini LED product uses more chips, leading to higher costs in pick and place and bonding processes. Moreover, mini LED needs more optical distance, which adds to the difficulty in making the products thinner.