MicroLEDs: the next revolution in displays?

An article written by Mark LaPedus for Semiconductor Engineering – Technology offers improved brightness, colors, and lower power, but they’re expensive and difficult to manufacture.

Flat-panel display technology is exploding on several fronts as more screens are required for more devices. But one type of display is generating an enormous amount of buzz in the market—microLEDs.

Dozens of companies are working on micro-light emitting diodes (microLEDs), a technology that promises to provide better and brighter displays than current solutions in the market. Apple, Facebook, Samsung and TSMC are just a few of the companies developing microLEDs. Additionally, TV vendors, display makers, startups and equipment vendors are also jumping on the bandwagon.

In R&D for several years, microLEDs are used to make displays for TVs, watches and head-mounted systems like the Google Glass. But microLEDs are difficult to make and expensive. That’s why mainstream commercial displays using microLEDs are not available today and won’t appear for several years.

A microLED is basically an LED (light-emitting diode), which converts electrical energy into light. Traditional LEDs are used for backlights in LCD displays, billboards, consumer electronic items and lighting. MicroLEDs are not to be confused with so-called miniLEDs, which are basically scaled down versions of today’s LEDs.

MicroLEDs are microscopic versions of an LED without a package, and a multitude of them need to be incorporated into a display. One microLED measures less than 100?m (less than 50?m are common), which can be 1/100 the size of a conventional LED. MicroLEDs are self-emissive and don’t require a backlight. In theory, a display using microLEDs provides more color and higher brightness with lower power than today’s displays… Full article