Korean-US R&D Effort Getting MicroLED Light Emitters Down To The Size Of Virus Particles

August 20, 2021 by Dave Haynes

If you listened to this week’s Sixteen:Nine Podcast or read the transcript, you may recall SCALA/STRATACACHE CEO Chris Riegel talking about the microLED plant he is spinning up and the huge advances being seen in microLED R&D.

He reference how new manufacturing processes are making it possible to make light-emitting, addressable LEDs that are truly microscopic – like the size of virus particles.

Here’s a tangible example of that:

The Korean semiconductor company Seoul Viosys has announced how it, along with the U.S. firm Solid State Lighting & Energy Electronics Center, has “succeeded in developing blue and green micro LEDs with 1 ?m diameter and addressed issues related to red micro LEDs of less than 70 ?m, which could not be mass-produced due to a decrease in External Quantum Efficiency (EQE).”

“Seoul Viosys has started mass production and expects it will be a game-changer in the global display industry.”

The ?m symbol is for micrometre, aka micron. That’s the metric unit of measure for a length equal to 0.001 mm, or about 0.000039 inch. So these guys are creating light emitters that are 50-100 times smaller than the video wall product now on the market that’s referenced as microLED. The most used references to microLED are emitters that are 50 or 100 ?m (microns).

It takes a LOT of digging to determine the size of microLEDS that Sony, Samsung, LG and other big displaycos use for their premium video wall products, but my understanding is that they are much, much larger than one micron – and really don’t need to be a whole pile smaller than the current LEDS used.

More light emitters means more costs, and would be overkill for large video walls. That density of LED pixels could be useful on things like VR displays, smart glasses and digital watches, but would be lost on viewers of large displays … unless they were close enough to bump their noses on the screen. At conventional viewing distances for displays, the benefits of all those pixels tends to be lost.

But this R&D advance suggests where display is going. Light emitters that small, with equally tiny wiring or other means of connecting them, could go in glass and have 99%+ transparency.

The press release is VERY technical and mostly over my head, but if you understand this stuff, you can read on here.

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