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New investments mounting for mini/microLED product developments

More companies in Taiwan, Korea and China are likely to continue committing investments to develop mini/microLED products before 2025, boosting the advancement of the display industry, according to Chan Pin Chong, executive vice president of Kulicke & Soffa Industries (K&S) Taiwan.

Despite the pandemic-induced impacts, new funds of more than US$20 million have been channeled into the field worldwide through investment, merger and acquisition activities, Chong said.

As a result, a wide assortment of microLED-based products are likely to enter mass production in 2023 and that more microLED applications, including large-size displays and automotive displays, will start emerging in 2024-2025, Chong noted.

Mini/microLED technologies feature many advantages in terms of brightness and evenness, among others. While OLED displays currently perform well in contrast, the next-generation microLED backlight technology may outperform OLED or miniLED for this respect, Chong said.

The initial application of microLED technology is likely to focus on large-size display devices and high-priced products before being applied to tablets, handsets, and other small-size applications, and it may take years for related microLED applications to reach the maturity as that of OLED ones, Chong added.

K&S currently focuses on offering packaging, testing, and mass transfer equipment needed to realize related mini/microLED technologies, Chong noted. And the firm has geared up its R&D efforts to develop miniLED equipment since 2017 with significant achievements.

K&S has taken many factors into account to develop its mini/microLED equipment, including the requirements for precision, maturity, and bottlenecks likely to encounter during mass-production processes, and more importantly, for maintenance.

Some miniLED-based end-market devices built using K&S equipment are likely to hit the shelves in 2021 before ramping up in 2022, Chong said, adding that related microLED equipment will become available in the next 2-3 years.