Micro LED


[New] The Reality of Micro LED Unveiled – Infinite Opportunities, Yet Initial Capacity Demand Remains Low


Ennostar, a Taiwanese group focusing on the R&D and manufacturing of Micro LED, LED and compound semiconductor, has announced on January 19th a NTD 670 million (roughly USD 21.36 million) sale of the planned Micro LED production facility in Zhunan, Taiwan.

Its subsidiary, EPISTAR, is anticipated to expedite Micro LED development by integrating existing resources in alternative locations.

According to TechNews’ report, Chin-Yung Fan, chairman of EPISTAR, anticipates “symbolic revenue” from Micro LED starting this year. He notes that in 2021, with the rise of Micro LED and Mini LED, existing facilities were insufficient. While planning to build new facilities based on customer demand and market predictions, the pandemic delayed many new technologies.

Following the integration of Ennostar’s factory resources, which are now available for EPISTAR’s use, the decision has been made to sell the Zhunan facility.

During an earnings call in 2023, Ennostar mentioned that the initial capacity demand for Micro LED is still low. Consequently, the company has slightly postponed its plans for new production capacity and will closely monitor the actual market demand.

Fan also emphasized that the volume of Micro LED will undoubtedly increase, and the significant symbolic revenue is expected around 2027, given the longer evaluation time for Micro LED in automotive applications.

However, the sale of Ennostar’s factory also highlights the delayed mass production of Micro LED. Currently, Micro LED is primarily used in large display products like TVs and small displays for smartwatches.

AUO, a Taiwanese company that specializes in optoelectronic solutions, commenced Micro LED production at the end of last year, supplying to high-end smartwatch clients, expected to achieve cost efficiency.

As for Samsung and LG, they view Micro LED TVs as a core market, aiming to enhance profitability through positioning them as high-end television options. At CES 2024, Samsung showcased a transparent Micro LED screen, reaffirming the potential of Micro LED as the next-generation display technology. However, due to the high unit price, mass adoption in the consumer market is currently limited.

Furthermore, despite being a key industry influencer, Apple has not yet integrated Micro LED into its product roadmap. Notably, the Vision Pro, currently available for pre-orders, opts for Micro OLED instead, signaling that the practical implementation of Micro LED in products may still be some time away.

Although it will take some time for mass production to ramp up, Taiwanese manufacturers are actively laying the groundwork for Micro LED technology. Major Micro LED manufacturers, such as PlayNitride, have signed production line construction contracts with EPISTAR and AUO.

EPISTAR has completed construction by the end of last year, while AUO is expected to have production capacity by the end of next year. Both AUO and Innolux, under the umbrella of the CarUX initiative, showcased Micro LED automotive technology at this year’s CES.

Innolux has also purchased a significant amount of transfer equipment from PlayNitride, further enhancing the completeness of the Taiwanese Micro LED supply chain.

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(Photo credit: AUO)

Please note that this article cites information from TechNews.


[News] AR Glasses Sector Secures Significant Funding, Reaching USD 200 Million Peak Investment

Within the AR glasses industry, various enterprises have recently concluded the latest round of financing, encompassing AR glasses, AR display modules, and optical wave devices.

Chinese AR glasses firm Rokid secured USD 112 million fund

According to news on November 20th, Chinese AR glasses firm Rokid achieved a valuation of USD 1 billion and secured a financing of USD 112 million. The funds will be directed towards the expansion of Rokid’s presence in international markets.

Established in 2014 and headquartered in Hangzhou, China, Rokid introduced its latest AR smart glasses products, Rokid Max and Rokid Max Pro, in March and August of this year, respectively, featuring Micro OLED displays.

(Image: Rokid)

Presently, Rokid’s AR glasses are available in over 80 countries and regions worldwide. Rokid has planned to explore the application of AR glasses in the education sector, with an anticipation that its overseas revenue will surpass domestic revenue by 2024.

Notably, Rokid has successfully completed multiple rounds of financing in recent years, accumulating a total of nearly USD 2 billion, according to relevant media reports.

Japanese AR optical firm Cellid completes latest funding round.

Cellid announced that it received an investment from SMBC Nikko Securities in October, and combined with the undisclosed investor in September, the total financing for Cellid reached JPY 2.28 billion (approximately USD 15.25 million).

The funds from this financing round will be allocated for the establishment of mass production and quality control systems, expediting process development, and advancing the research and sales of software such as Model Builder.

(Image: Cellid )

Founded in 2016, Cellid focuses on the development and provision of AR display module hardware and spatial recognition technology software, Model Builder. The company aims to achieve higher-quality AR glasses by addressing both hardware and software components.

In 2021, Cellid initiated the supply of samples for AR glasses display modules, Cellid Waveguide 60, featuring a wider field of view optical (FOV) waveguide and a 1.2 cc size ultra-compact Micro LED projector.

In January this year, Cellid unveiled an optical module for AR glasses, equipped with a Micro LED projector, achieving a field of view of 60 degrees.

AR optical wave device company Raypai secures tens of millions in CNY Funding.

AR optical wave device company Raypai concluded a B-round financing of tens of millions of Chinese Yuan on November 21st. This round of financing was led by CVYE, VDL, and ABCI.

Raypai, known for its self-developed geometric optical waveguide technology and 2D pupil dilation technology, enables optical waveguide devices to maintain excellent optical performance while adopting a compact and lightweight form. This provides a foundation for deeply immersive, highly interactive, and highly integrated AR smart glasses.

(Image: Raypai)

Currently, Raypai has introduced over ten AR geometric optical waveguide display devices, applied in various AR smart terminal products, including QIDI ONE, RokidGLASS2, and Vision Enjoy G510.

Recently, Raypai unveiled its latest 2D geometric optical waveguide product, achieving a breakthrough in the field of view beyond 50 degrees and light efficiency exceeding 2000 nit/lm. The company has collaborated with well-known Chinese enterprises to develop consumer AR geometric optical waveguide devices for new products.

In terms of production, Raypai has completed the construction of a super-precision optical device production base in Kunshan, Jiangsu, achieving full operational status and mass delivery of the entire product line, with an annual production capacity of 120,000 sets of optical waveguide devices. Presently, based on customer demand and market trends, Raypai is planning more extensive production capacity reserves.
(Image: Rokid)


[News] AUO and PlayNitride Sign NT$700 Million Deal for 6-inch Micro LED CoC Line in Taiwan


According to TechNews, AUO held a board meeting and signed a contract with PlayNitride on October 31st. The deal entails PlayNitride assisting AUO in setting up a cutting-edge 6-inch Micro LED Chip on Carrier (CoC) production line at AUO’s Longtan Tech Park facility, offering an all-in-one solution. The contract is valued at a substantial 700 million NT dollars, with a duration of 30 months.

The CoC production line is a pivotal part of Micro LED manufacturing, and AUO emphasizes that this contract is distinct from the one they have with Ennostar.

AUO highlights that their partnership with PlayNitride in establishing the CoC production line not only puts them in control of the most vital raw materials for Micro LED but also enables them to bring CoC to Micro LED module production in-house. This strategic move is expected to significantly enhance production efficiency, increase yield rates, and bolster AUO’s competitiveness in terms of Micro LED product costs. This, in turn, accelerates the timeline for the mass commercialization of Micro LED.

AUO’s involvement in Micro LED research dates back to 2012, resulting in expertise in display technology and manufacturing processes. In the display industry, they’ve been integrating the supply chain and establishing a comprehensive Micro LED ecosystem, gradually working toward the goal of commercialization during the year of mass production for Micro LED. AUO has big plans for applying Micro LED display technology across various fields.

Addressing concerns about technology transfer, PlayNitride clarifies that technology transfer primarily pertains to well-established product technologies, carried out incrementally with different firms. At the same time, PlayNitride is committed to developing new processes and products, and with patent protection in place and specific company considerations, there’s currently no need to fret about any technology leakage.
In August this year, TrendForce predicted rapid growth in the Micro LED chip market, with an expected value of $27 million in 2023, marking a 92% YoY increase. This growth is expected to continue, reaching approximately $580 million in 2027, with a CAGR of about 136% from 2022 to 2027. AUO, known for LCDs, has already produced the world’s first 1.39-inch Micro LED watch panel. Major companies, including AUO’s current client Tag Heuer, are potential adopters of Micro LED wearable devices.
(Image: AUO)

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2024 Tech Trends Projection Revealed, TrendForce: AI Continues as the Main Focus

With the approach to the end of 2023, TrendForce revealed the tech trends in every sector, apparently, AI continues as the main focus to decide the direction of how the tech supply chain will be in the next few years, here are the seeings:

CSPs increase AI investment, driving a 38% growth in AI server shipments by 2024

  • CSPs increase AI investment, fueling a 38% growth in AI server shipments by 2024.
  • Major CSPs like Microsoft, Google, and AWS are driving this growth due to the rising popularity of AI applications, pushing AI server shipments to 1.2 million units in 2023.

HBM3e set to drive an annual increase of 172% in HBM revenue

  • Major memory suppliers are set to introduce HBM3e with faster speeds (8 Gbps) to enhance the performance of AI accelerator chips in 2024–2025.
  • HBM integration is becoming common among GPU manufacturers like NVIDIA and AMD, and it is expected that HBM will significantly contribute to memory suppliers’ revenues in 2024, with an annual growth rate of 172%.

Rising demand for advanced packaging in 2024, the emergence of 3D IC technology

  • Leading semiconductor firms like TSMC, Samsung, and Intel are emphasizing advanced packaging technology’s importance in boosting chip performance, conserving space, reduce power usage, and minimize latency. They’re establishing 3D IC research centers in Japan to underscore this role.
  • Generative AI is driving increased demand for 2.5D packaging tech, integrating computing chips and memory with a silicon interposer layer. Additionally, 3D packaging solutions like TSMC’s SoIC, Samsung’s X-Cube, and Intel’s Foveros.

NTN is set to begin with small-scale commercial tests, broader applications of this technology are on the way in 2024

  • Collaboration between satellite operators, semiconductor firms, telecom operators, and smartphone makers is growing due to increased satellite deployments by operators. This collaboration focuses on mobile satellite communication applications and bidirectional data transmission under specific conditions.
  • Major semiconductor manufacturers are ramping up efforts in satellite communication chips, leading top smartphone manufacturers to integrate satellite communication into high-end phones using the SoC model, which is expected to drive small-scale commercial testing of NTN networks and promote widespread adoption of NTN applications.

6G communication to begin in 2024, with satellite communication taking center stage

  • 6G standardization begins around 2024-2025, with initial technologies expected by 2027-2028. This enables novel applications like Reconfigurable Intelligent Surfaces (RIS), terahertz bands, Optical Wireless Communication (OWC), NTN for high-altitude comms, and immersive Extended Reality (XR) experiences.
  • Low-orbit satellites will play a key role in 6G as its standards solidify, peaking around the time of 6G commercialization. The use of drones for 6G communication and environmental sensing is also set to surge in the 6G era.

Innovative entrants drive cost optimization for Micro LED technology in 2024

  • In 2023, the focus in Micro LED display technology is on cost reduction through chip downsizing, aiming for at least a 20-25% annual reduction. A hybrid transfer approach, combining stamping and laser bonding, is gaining attention for efficient mass production.
  • Micro LED holds potential in micro-projection displays for transparent AR lenses. Challenges include achieving ultra-high PPI with 5 µm or smaller chips, particularly with red LEDs’ low efficiency. Various innovative approaches, such as InGan-based red LEDs and vertically stacked RGB LEDs.

Intensifying competition in AR/VR micro-display technologies

  • Increasing AR/VR headset demand drives demand for ultra-high PPI near-eye displays, with Micro OLED technology at the forefront, poised for broader adoption.
  • Challenges in brightness and efficiency impact Micro OLED displays and their dominance in the head-mounted display market depends on the development of various micro-display technologies.

Advancements in material and component technologies are propelling the commercialization of gallium oxide

  • Gallium oxide (Ga₂O₃) is gaining prominence for next-gen power semiconductor devices due to its potential in high-voltage, high-temperature, and high-frequency applications in EVs, electrical grids, and aerospace.
  • The industry is already producing 4-inch gallium oxide mono-crystals and advancing Schottky diode and transistor fabrication processes, with the first Schottky diode products expected by 2024.

Solid-state batteries poised to reshape the EV battery landscape over the next decade

  • Major automakers and battery manufacturers are investing in solid-state and semi-solid-state battery technologies, aiming for a new cycle of technological iteration by 2024.
  • After Li-ion batteries, sodium-ion batteries, with lower energy density, are suitable for budget-friendly EVs, and hydrogen fuel cells offer long-range and zero emissions, primarily for heavy-duty commercial vehicles, with widespread adoption expected after 2025, despite challenges.

BEVs in 2024 rely on power conversion efficiency, driving range, and charging efficiency

  • Automakers are optimizing battery pack structures and material ratios to increase energy density and driving range. Solid-state batteries, with high energy density, may see limited installations in vehicles as semi-solid batteries in 2H23.
  • The 800V platform will enable high-power fast charging, leading to the expansion of high-power charging stations. AI advancements are driving EVs toward advanced autonomous driving, with Tesla’s Dojo supercomputer investing in neural network training to maintain its position in the intelligent driving market.

Green solutions with AI simulations emerging as a linchpin for renewable energy and decarbonized manufacturing

  • Under the background of optimizing energy consumption, creating interconnected data ecosystems, and visualizing energy flow and consumption. Carbon auditing tools and AI are key for organizations aiming to reduce carbon emissions and enhance sustainability.
  • The IEA predicts global renewable energy generation to reach 4,500 GW by 2024, driven by policy support, rising fossil fuel prices, and energy crises. The adoption of AI-driven smart technologies in peripheral systems for stable energy generation.

OLED’s expansion will across various applications driven by the innovation of foldable phones

  • OLED folding phones are improving in design by using lightweight materials, innovative hinge structures, and cost-reduction efforts to approach the thickness and weight of traditional smartphones.
  • In the IT sector, industry players like Samsung, BOE Technology, JDI, and Visionox are making significant investments and developments in OLED technology to expand into various markets. Anticipated advancements in technology and materials are expected to increase OLED market penetration by 2025.

[News] Apple Could Introduce Micro LED into Vision Pro, Replacing Existing Micro OLED Technology

According to a report from TechNews, Micro LED technology boasts superior qualities such as higher transparency, richer color saturation, increased brightness, enhanced efficiency, and lower power consumption. It also extends product lifespans, making it an optimal choice for automotive displays. However, it currently grapples with challenges related to cost, mass transfer, extensive inspections, and red light efficiency, posing obstacles to large-scale production.

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