MicroLED Lab Gets 2.8M Nits Brightness Out Of R&D Display Unit

June 8, 2023 by Dave Haynes

When the digital signage world thinks about brightness levels in displays, we tend to look at measures like 3,500 nits as being super-bright, but microLED has the potential to ratchet up that measure QUITE a bit – like brightness levels exceeding 2.8 million nits.

That is not a typo.

The qualifier here is that this was measured on a one-inch monochrome R&D display, as part of development for very small and highly-specialized applications like augmented reality headsets. There is no video wall on the horizon that could double as an instant tanning booth.

Kopin Corporation, based in Westborough, Mass., pushed out PR about what it describes as an important milestone in the development of optical systems and high-performance micro-displays for defense, enterprise, professional and consumer markets.

Micro-displays used in Augmented Reality (AR) applications require very high brightness for a user to see images clearly and crisply when using a device in bright daylight conditions and in see-through enabled applications. Kopin’s 1” diagonal 2K x 2K MicroLED display (2048 x 2048 resolution) has been developed to support high-performance defense and AR applications. The initial production verification samples utilizing Kopin’s proprietary backplane and drive technology have achieved brightness levels of over 2.8 million nits and the brightness of the production displays is projected to increase to between 3.2-3.5 million nits.

Inorganic Light Emitting Diode (MicroLED or µLED) technology is widely seen across the display industry as an important technology for the future and especially for AR systems where its combination of brightness and efficiency is well matched to the market requirements. The brightness and image quality achieved in the production verification displays has allowed Kopin’s initial MicroLED customer to start integrating the displays into their system for low-rate initial production testing.

“MicroLED displays can achieve brightness levels that are a necessary enabler to allow AR systems to be fully deployed in bright ambient conditions,” says Bill Maffucci, Kopin’s SVP of Business Development and Strategy. “We believe the 2K x 2K MicroLED that we are developing is by far the highest resolution LED microdisplay that has ever been developed and it incorporates several proprietary design features that overcome challenges which previously limited the use of this technology. We are very pleased with our initial test results and look forward to completing development of this display and moving into production.”

This is not the sort of tech that would get used for video walls or other larger form factor displays. But what it does suggest is the potential for microLED to easily overcome everyday digital signage and DOOH issues like ambient light. There will likely be a day when a color variation of this tech can be embedded in building glass, and no one will be asking if it is bright enough to counteract sunlight.

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