Market and Technology Trends
By Yole Intelligence —
After $11B collectively spent by the industry, microLED inches closer to mass production with Apple-Osram’s milestone €800M fab and other projects.
Scope of the report
Methodologies & definition
About the authors
What we got right, what we got wrong
3 Page summary
- Display Industry Macro-Trends
- Technology Landscape
Introduction to MicroLED Displays
- Mini and MicroLED
- What’s A MicroLED Display?
- MicroLED Process Overview
- Pixel Structure, Sensors in display
- Major Manufacturing and Technology Building Blocks
- Potential Benefits
- MicroLED VS OLED and LCD
- MicroLED Cost Target for Die, Transfer and Repair
- Cost Modeling : Key Outcomes
- Cost Roadmap
- Cost Reduction Opportunities
- MicroLED Attributes vs. Application Requirements
- MicroLED SWOT per Application
- Key Drivers and roadblocks for Adoption
- AR, MR & VR…
- Challenges for Augmented Reality
- Micro-displays for AR
- Key Players
- New Entrants since Previous Report
- Supply chain: Backplane, Display, Waveguides, OEMS
- Partnerships and Ecosystems: JBD, Jasper, MicLEDI
- Overview of Early MicroLED AR Glasses Products
- AR Contact Lenses: Mojo Vision
- VR Applications
- 2021-2029 AR & VR Forecast90
- Passive Matrix and Non-Display Applications
- 2020-2022 Trends in the TV Industry
- 2021-2029 TV Volume Forecast by Size
- Large TVs
- Modular LED and MicroLED displays
- Large Display Handling and Transportation
- Projection – Laser TV
- Cost Benchmark: LCD, OLED, Mini/MicroLED, Projection
- TV Price Elasticity and Adoption of New Technologies
- OLED and MicroLED Price Evolution
- MicroLED Status
- Die cost
- 8K or Not?
- Backplane cost
- OLED: a Moving Target
- Samsung’s Effort toward Future-Proof TV Technologies
- Samsung Display Technology Commonalities
- Technology Landscape for Premium TVs
- Convergence Between TV and Direct-View LED Displays
- Major TFT and DVLD Maker Partnerships
- Direct-View LED Displays From B2B to B2C
- Scenario for Consumer Adoption
- 2021-2029 TV Panel Forecast
- Display Performance
- 2021-2027 Automotive Display Forecast by Function
- Comparison of Display Technologies for Automotive
- Automotive Categories and Price Bands
- Scenario for microLED Adoption in Automotive
- Examples: AUO, Tianma, PlayNitride
- 2021-2029 Automotive Display Forecast by Technology
- 2021-2029 Smartwatch Panel Volume forecast
- Drivers For MicroLED Adoption
- MicroLED Adoption Scenario
- 2021-2029 Panel Volume Forecast
- 2017-2029 Smartphone Panel volume Forecast
- Differentiation via display
- MicroLED Adoption challenge
- Die Cost and Size For Smartphone
- MicroLED Adoption Scenario
- 2021-2029 Panel Volume Forecast by Technology
Tablet, Laptops and Monitors
- Trends in OLED Adoption In Tablets and Notebooks
- 2021-2027 Rigid OLED Capacity for Notebook and Tablet
- Tablet Panel 2021-2029 Forecast per Technology
- Notebook Trends: OLED Adoption
- Notebook Panel 2021-2029 Forecast per Technology
- Desktop Panel Monitor 2021-2029 Forecast per Technology
- MicroLED Epiwafer Volumes: Key Hypotheses
- 2022-2029 MicroLED Forecast – 3 Scenario
Recent News, Products and Prototypes
- More and Better Prototypes
- Commercial Products
MicroLED Investments and Manufacturing Ramp Up
- MicroLED Spending: Overview
- MicroLED Startup Funding
- MicroLED Startup Exits: Acquisitions and IPO
- Internal MicroLED R&D Effort at Large companies
- MicroLED Manufacturing Ramp Up Effort
- Pilot Lines and MicroLED Dedicated R&D Centers
- Ams-Osram Kulim 8 Inch MicroLED Fab
- Ennostar and PlayNitride Manufacturing plans
- Sanan’s Hubei MINI/MICROLED Industrial Base
- HC SemitEK Mini/MicroLED Investment Plans
- Other LED Epitaxy company
- Jade Bird Display (JBD)
- Tianma MicroLED Alliance and Pilot Line
- Other Significant Investments
- Components, Devices and Processes
- Equipment and Materials
- New entrants (2022 Report)
- Overview of Large Companies and Their µLED ecosystems
- Apple smartwatch Supply chain
- Samsung’s MicroLED Ecosystem
- Major Collaborations
- Start-ups: Strategic Investors and Partnerships
- Focus on Taiwan
- Taiwan MicroLED Ecosystem
- Taiwan: AUO-Ennostar-PlayNitride MicroLED Ecosystem
- PlayNitride Company Profile
- Focus on China
- Supply chain Requirements and Maturity Level
- Supply Chain scenarios With TFT Backplane
- Disruptive Supply Chain Scenario: MicroDrivers
- LED Chip Makers’ Opportunities for Adding Value
- Key Players’ Role
Equipment & Manufacturing Infrastructure
- MicroLED Process, Equipment Requirements and Maturity
Front-End fabs and Equipment
- Front-End Equipment Suppliers
- Example of Process Flow (5 Masks)
- Epitaxy: Requirements and Current status
- Chip Fabrication
- Front-End Fab Requirements for Small MicroLED
- MicroLED Evolution toward Traditional Semiconductor
- Incentives for larger wafers: from 4” to 8”
- Geometrical Number of Die per Wafer
- Incentives for larger wafers: 300 mm
- Options for MicroLED manufacturing Fabs
- Incentives for GaN-On-Si
- GaN-On-Si MicroLED Epi: Key Players
- Example: Enkris
- MicroLED Fab Status: Investment and Technology Choices
- Chip Processing: Applied Materials
Mass Transfer and Assembly
- Major Players per Tool Function
- Mass Transfer Tool Requirements
- Process Developers Vs Equipment Makers
- Stamp-Based Mass Transfer Tools
- Laser-Based Mass Transfer Tools
- Newcomers: ShinEtsu
- Examples of Other Solutions in Development
- Inspection, Metrology, Testing and Repair
Inspection, Testing and Repair Tool Makers
- Importance of MicroLED Yield Management
- Yield Management and Repair Strategies 258
- Transfer and Actionable Known Good Die Maps
- Overview of Inspection, Testing and Repair Requirements
- Front-End: Epiwafers and chips
- 2022 status: AOI and Photoluminescence
- Functional Testing strategies
- 2022 Functional Testing status: Probe and contactless
- Other Testing Methods and Equipment
- Back End: Post Transfer and Final display
- Pixel Repair
- Illustration: Charm Engineering and Toray Engineering.
- Display Inspection and Calibration
- Yield Management strategies and cost Optimizations
- MicroLED Vs OLED Power Consumption
- Improving Internal Efficiency
- Searching for the Best Red Technology
- Improving InGaN Red
- Driving for Efficiency
- Light Extraction and BEAM shaping
- Approaches for Color Displays
- Color Conversion Benefits
- Color Converter Absorption and Aspect Ratio
Transfer, assembly and Repair
- Example of Process Flow
- Classifications of Transfer Technologies
- Deterministic Transfer and Assembly Cycle
- Deterministic: Pick and Place Vs Sequential Printing
- Transfer Field Size
- Laser Processes
- Stamp vs Laser-based Processes
- ShinEtsu’s Die Lift Off, Re-pitching, Transfer
- Toray Engineering “RAP-LLO” Laser Transfer Process Flow
- Metrics for Transfer Throughput
- 2022 Status
- Price and revenue Generation Metrics
- Transfer Optimization for Large Displays
- Two-step Transfer for Large Displays
- One Versus Two-step Transfer
- Transfer Process Scorecard
Nanorod LEDs (QNEDs)*
- QNED Vs QD-OLED and microLED
- QNED Challenges and Status
Driving Architecture and Methods
- Analog Driving: Pulse Amplitude Modulation
- Digital Driving: PWM and Analog/digital Hybrid
- Active Vs Passive Matrix
- CMOS and TFT Backplane Vs Microdriver ICs
- Cost Reality check: TFT vs MicroDrivers
- AM/PM Hybrids: Local Passive-Matrix Clusters
MicroLED In Package (MIP), Smart Pixels.
- The Pioneer: Sony Crystal LED (First Generation)
- Monolithic RGB Chips: Seoul Viosys
Tiling and Edge Wiring
- Possible Architectures for Signal routing
- 2022 Status
- Wrap Around Electrodes Solution Providers
- MicroLED MicroDisplay Manufacturing Processes
- Status and Key Players per Process Type
- Vuereal’s Micro AlignTM Hybridization Process
- MiCLEDI’s Hybrid Wafer-to Wafer-Bonding
- Incentives for 300 mm Wafers
- Display + Waveguide System Efficiency
- Color: Combining 3 Displays
- Color: Monolithic RGB Microdisplays
- Color: Single Epi Structures: Ostendo, Porotech
- Pixel Density Evolution of Full Color Prototypes
- Kura Technologies’ MicroLED displays
Apple, Osram, and others readying for mass production
Ennostar, JBD, StrataCache, and others are all investing in microLED manufacturing, while Apple and its partners are sending a strong signal by investing more than US$2B in smartwatch display production, including €800M by ams-Osram for an 8” microLED chip fab.
This will be an incubator for the industry and Apple in particular, with unique opportunities to close technology gaps, iron out the supply chain, and, if successful, push toward smartphones or tablets.
Success would give the industry both a substantial confidence boost and a supply chain jump-start: ams-Osram could also serve non-Apple products such as TVs or automotive, and become a high-performance, cost-effective, microLED die source for companies that would otherwise not be able to develop their own supply chain.
MicroLED, however, has but a few champions. Failure of Apple’s production ramp or Samsung VD halting TV efforts could bring the industry to a halt. Without TVs, watches, or smartphones to drive investments, smaller players will find it challenging to build supply chains at a meaningful scale for automotive and specialty displays alone. The situation is different for microdisplays, where more than 20 companies are competing.
Smartwatch the first high-volume consumer application
Apple plans to start producing smartwatch microLED displays in 2024, an aggressive timing: nobody has ever produced LED or microLED on 8” sapphire and GaAs. Any ramp schedule slip could mean missing Apple’s usual September launch and pushing it to 2025.
MicroLED micro-displays have already found their way into various Augmented Reality (AR) products. Efficiency at the display and optic levels, as well as full color, remain challenging, though. However, there is no rush: AR is still searching for a strong use case for consumer adoption and faces many challenges besides displays, including cost, power usage, processing bandwidth, aspect, social acceptance, etc.
Notorious for lengthy and stringent qualification processes, automotive is another major thrust area. Automakers are expressing genuine interest and evaluating prototypes. PlayNitride, AUO, and Tianma are pushing strongly and hoping for adoption in 2027.
Success in TV depends on Samsung’s will and ability to reduce costs dramatically. Meaningful volumes are unlikely before 2027, at least. Smartphone remains elusive. Apple’s success with the smartwatch is a necessary condition and would breathe new hope into this application.
Supply chain is maturing, helped by equipment makers’ microLED bet
Display makers, OEMs, startups, and equipment makers have collectively spent close to $8B on microLED development so far. Acquisitions add another $1.7B, including Google snatching Raxium and Jasper for more than $1B. PlayNitride conducted the first microLED IPO in 2022. Leading panel makers and OEMs in China have formed alliances with LED makers, with BOE bucking the trend by taking control of HC Semitek.
A new wave of spending driven by manufacturing infrastructure will bring the cumulated microLED effort to about $18B by 2025. This pales compared to OLEDs’ more than $150B Capex since 2006 but shows microLED momentum is accelerating.
Until 2020, a company willing to develop microLED displays had to invent its own mass transfer process. In 2022, however, more than a dozen equipment makers are now offering microLED-dedicated tools. Their availability is ushering the industry into a virtuous cycle, both lowering the barrier to entry and enabling shorter development cycles. For other manufacturing steps, microLEDs leverage existing equipment and technologies from the display, semiconductor, and LED industries.
Compared to traditional LEDs, microLED requires a paradigm shift toward a semiconductor-like manufacturing mindset, meaning high efficiency, automation, end-to-end defect prevention and management strategies, etc., all critical contributors to necessary die size and cost reductions. Traditional semiconductor and display equipment companies such as AMAT, KLA/STPS, LAM Research, and others are all developing solutions.
3D Micromac (DE), Advantest (JP), Aerotrans Tech. (TW), Aixtron (DE), Aledia (FR), Alphabetter (CN), ams-Osram (DE-AT), ANI (KR), Applied Materials (US), Allos Semiconductor (DE), AMEC (CN), Apple (US), AQlaser (KR), Ascending Optronics (CN), ASMPT (SG), Atomistic SAS (FR), AUO (TW), Attolight (CH), BOE (CN), Bolite (TW), CEA-LETI (FR), Charm Engineering (KR), ChipFoundation (CN), Coherent (US), Contrel (TW), Cyberoptics (US), Delphi Laser (CN), eLux (US), Enkris (CN), ENNOSTAR (TW), EpiLED (TW), EpiPix (UK), Epistar (TW), Extremely PQ (CN), Finetech (DE), FitTech (TW), Flex Photonic (CN), Foxconn (TW), Gamma Scientific (US), glō (SE/US), GlobalFoundries (US), Google (US), GPM (TW), HCP (CN), Hanua Semi (CN), HC Semitek (CN), HGC (CN), HKUST (HK), Hymson (CN), Intel (US), Innocise (DE), Innolux (TW), Innovation Semiconductors (US), Instrument Systems (DE), Inziv (IS), ITRI (TW), Jade Bird Display (HK), Jasper Display (TW), Junwan (CN), KLA (US), Konka (CN), Kopin (US), Kyocera (JP), LG (KR), Kubos (UK), Kulicke & Soffa (SG), Laser Apps (KR), LC Square (KR), Lextar (TW), Leyard (CN), Lohua (CN), Lumens (KR), Lumiode (US), LuxNour (US), LuxVue (US), Meta (US), Micledi (BE), Mikro Mesa (TW), Mojo Vision (US), Nanosys (US), Nationstar (CN), NCTU (TW), Nichia (JP), Nitride Semiconductors (JP), Nuflare (JP), OKI (JP), Ostendo (US), Oxford Instruments (UK), Physik Instrumente (DE), Picosun (FI), PlayNitride (TW), Plessey (UK), Porotech (UK),PRP Optoelectronics (UK), QubeDot (DE), Radiant Vision Systems (US), Raxium (US), Raysolve (CN), Rohinni (US), S-King (CN), Samurai Spirit (TW), Samsung (KR), Sanan (CN), Saphlux (US), Sapien (KR), Semilab (HU), Seoul Semiconductor (KR), Sharp (JP), Shibaura (JB), Sinwell (TW), SinyOpto (CN), Sitan Technology (CN), Skiileux (TW), Smartvision (CN), Sony (JP), Soft Epi (KR), Southport (TW), SPTS (US), Stratacache (US), Stroke PAE (TW), Sundiode (US), SUSTech (CN), Sun Yat-sen University (TW), TCL-CSOT (CN) TDK (JP), Terecircuit (US), Tetos (KR), Teyitech (CN), Tianma (CN), Topcon (JP), Top Engineering (KR), Toray Engineering (JP), TowerJazz (IS), TSMC (TW), Tyndall National Institute (IE), Ultra Display Tech (TW), V-Technology (JP), Veeco (US), V-Technology (JP), Viewtrix (TW), Visionox/Vistar (CN), VueReal (CA), Vuzix (US), X Display (US), XTPL (PL) and more
- MicroLED display panel and wafer demand forecast.
- Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats by application: wearables, AR/VR, TV, automotive, smartphone, etc.
- Technology status: transfer, efficiency, driving, color, tiling, MicroLED-In-Package, etc.
- Competitive landscape: key players, collaborations, acquisitions.
- Manufacturing and supply chain: requirements, major fab projects, equipment availability for front end, transfer & assembly, metrology, test and repair.
- Cost aspects, roadmaps.
- Recent news and events
- Trends in technology and competitive landscape, new players
- Detailed analysis of microLED R&D spending, acquisitions, fabs, and manufacturing investment schedules.
- Updated cost and die size roadmaps, analysis of the emerging microLED manufacturing and equipment ecosystem: requirements, challenges, strategies, and competitive landscape.
- Comparison of micro-display manufacturing approaches.
Present an updated status of microLED technologies:
- Recent progress.
- What are the remaining pinch points?
- Cost aspects, roadmaps.
Show the competitive landscape and supply chain:
- Understand the microLED ecosystem: LED makers, equipment providers, panel makers, and OEMs; key players, who does what, who works with whom?
- Scenarios for microLED display supply chain: OEMs, display makers, equipment makers, start-ups, and technology providers.
- Impact on the display supply chain.
Which applications could microLED displays address and when?
- Detailed analyses and roadmaps for major display applications.
- Cost analyses and roadmaps.