Mini LEDs, a Stopping Off Step Before Micro LEDs are Ready
December 11, 2017
LEDinside points out that LED manufacturers have turned to research and development of Mini LED, due to Micro LED’s technological bottlenecks which make it harder to realize commercialization in short term. Companies can develop Mini LED using their current equipment, with only small changes in the manufacturing process. Mini LED has the potential to be adopted for televisions mobile phones and automotive displays with revenue expected to reach US$1 billion in 2023. In particular, LED digital display and large-size TV will be the mainstream applications of Mini LED. According to Simon Yang, Assistant Research Manager of LEDinside, with sizes of about 100-200μm, mini LED chips can be used for self-emitting displays and backlighting. Sony has released Micro LED display in 2016, which had rather high cost and technological barrier, so LED companies now turn to research on Mini LED, which has larger chip size, for realizing mass production in shorter time. Compared with traditional LEDs, Mini LED backlit displays are more likely to have high dynamic range imaging and wider color gamut. The cost of using Mini LED chips for a self-emitting display is too high, and the resolution doesn’t meet the requirements of existing products. Therefore, the companies aim to use Mini LED as backlight to replace traditional backlighting in LCD panel. LEDinside estimates that Mini LED backlighting demos could be released in 2018. In terms of applications in mobile phones, Mini LED-equipped products with local dimming can realize high contrast and high brightness similar to OLED products. Epistar, Lextar, San’an Optoelectronics, HC SemiTek, etc., and packaging companies like Everlight, Advanced Optoelectronic Technology, Harvatek, Seoul Semiconductor, IC designers like Macroblock, Raydium, etc., panel makers like AU Optronics, and Innolux Corporation, and digital display makers like Leyard, are developing Mini LED products. However, there are still challenges for the development of Mini LED. The high cost is a major concern since Mini LED product uses more chips, leading to higher costs in pick and place and bonding processes, as well as longer processing time and higher risks of low yield rate. In addition, Mini LED needs more optical distance, which adds to the difficulty in making the products thinner.