Recently, with the rumors that “Apple Apple Watch will adopt Micro LED”, Micro LED technology become the hottest discussion topic again in public. Although Micro LED is considered to be a new technology that will subvert the future of the industry, its current immature development status makes it not yet gained a significant market share.
However, with its unique advantages, including higher brightness, refresh rate, resolution, lower power consumption, longer service life, wider color gamut and better stability, Micro LED still attracts the attention of many technology giants.
Every technological innovation of Micro LED is highly anticipated by the consumer market. However, under the limitation of high cost, it is still a big problem for Micro LED to fully enter the market. Hence, when Micro LED is expected to get mass production, what development trend will it lead?
What makes Micro LED hard to get mass production？
Micro LED, also known as micron light-emitting diode, is to matrix and miniaturize the traditional LED (light-emitting diode) structure, and reduce the size to 1-10μm. After the solid crystal is transferred to the substrate by mass transfer, the protective layer and electrodes are completed by physical deposition, and finally packaged.
According to different display application scenarios, the size of Micro LED chips is also inconsistent. For example, based on the calculation that the light-emitting area accounts for 10% of the pixel area, the size of the Micro LED chip should be 3-5μm in VR and AR applications; for a 10-12 inch flat panel display, according to the pixel density of 300ppi, the corresponding chip size is 20- 30μm; for a 75-inch large-screen display, according to the pixel density of 43ppi, the chip size is about 200μm.
Then what is mass transfer technology? In the field of Micro LED, it refers to the process of quickly and accurately transferring millions or tens of millions of micron-sized LED grains to the driving circuit substrate after the chip is on the source substrate. Therefore, the difficult transfer process has also become one of the obstacles limiting the mass production of Micro LEDs.
Besides, restricted by factors such as cost, yield rate, and terminal price, Micro LED technology is still in the early stages of development. And it will take a long development cycle to popularize household use. So, the mass production of Micro LED is also limited.
Despite the above difficulties, the advancement of Chinese domestic technology will help reduce the cost of Micro LED applications and accelerate the process of large-scale commercialization.
Moreover, laser lift-off transfer technology is currently the most promising Micro LED mass transfer technology. This technology not only guarantees the transfer efficiency, but also guarantees the accuracy of the technical solution, which can be used for the transfer of panels of any size. It enables to match with the bad pixel removal process, which is beneficial to improve the yield rate.
When can Micro LED embrace the growth spurt?
Regarding the news that Apple Watch may use Micro LED, DSCC also predicts that Apple will produce Apple Watch with a Micro LED display in 2024 and release the product in 2025. However, it is noticed that the cost of installing a Micro LED display might be five times that of the OLED display of the 1.92-inch Apple Watch Ultra model. Therefore, the high cost further shows that Apple has little hope of applying Micro LED to the iPhone in recent years.
With its unique advantages, Micro LED is still being extended to wearable devices, AR/VR and other fields. It is reported that at the CES(Consumer Electronics Show), several smart AR glasses equipped with Micro LED as the light engine was unveiled. For example, TCL released Thunderbird AR glasses RayNeoX2, compared with other technical solutions, the biggest advantage of Micro LED is self-illumination, wide color gamut, high brightness, and the optical machine is small enough.
The technical maturity and cost constraints of Micro LED, it will take a long time for the commercialization of Micro LED, and the expected large volume time is after 2025. In addition, it is predicted that the output value of Micro LED display application chips is expected to reach 542 million USD in 2024. After the Micro LED technology matures in 2025, the output value is expected to usher in explosive growth.
What can new development trends be witnessed for Micro LED?
Take consumer electronics as example. Because AR products need to interact with the environment, the features of high brightness, high PPI, lightweight, and fast response are required, so monolithic integration and CMOS technology can be used, which will become one of the breakthroughs for the Micro LED market explosion.
In terms of the automotive industry, Micro LED is transparent, and flexible displaying, it can still provide high brightness and high contrast, which is expected to be used in HUD(head-up display).
In addition, it’s believed that Micro LED is also expected to be applied in wearable devices like smartwatches by virtue of its performance advantages. On one hand, with the strength of high brightness and low power consumption, Micro LED can present better performance different from OLED(Organic Light-Emitting Diode). On the other hand, unlike AR head-mounted displays and TVs, since smartwatches do not require high pixel density or multiple mass transfers, they are currently the closest to MicroLED technology development.
IBE – Your best choice for PCBs manufacturing and PCB assembly
We’re one of China’s professional PCB fabrication and assembly service suppliers serving worldwide experts, engineers and manufacturers since our establishment in 2005. With over a decade’s experience in the development, manufacturing, assembly and testing of custom printed circuit boards, we’re now capable to provide a full range of services, from rapid PCB prototyping, circuit board manufacturing, and PCB assembly to components sourcing services, all with guaranteed quality and cost-effective price.
IBE is certificated with the ISO9001:2015, ISO14001, RoHS, and UL listed, World Class Quality and the Standards – IATF 16949:2016 Certified (for Automotive), ISO 13485:2016(for medical). In addition, we have a strict internal quality control process and test methods, from raw material to PCB assembly, we perform visual inspection and automated inspections such as optical and X-ray inspections, making sure our customers can always get high-quality products.