Jade Bird Display Starts Mass Production of 0.13” MicroLED Display

Published October 12, 2020

Jade Bird Display (JBD) has confirmed the availability of its 0.13” (3.3 mm) microLED display with a 4 μm pixel pitch. The JBD4UM480P display series will be released in November in monochrome red, green and blue. Featuring a resolution of 640×480 and a luminance of 0.2 M nits, 2 M nits, and 0.15 M nits for red, green, and blue, respectively, JBD claims the world’s smallest and brightest VGA display panel ever made. The size and resolution translate to 6,154 dpi, although the company did not specify an exact value.

JBD's 0.13" Panel Shown Next to Rice Grains

JBD was founded in 2015 and is headquartered in Hong Kong. They have a pilot fab in Shanghai with over 100 scientists and engineers. The company is entirely focused on the microdisplay market, with a strong emphasis on Augmented Reality (AR) applications.

The company says the JBD4UM480P is designed for near-to-eye and projection-based applications such as smart glasses for Information AR, Sports Optics, Holographic sights and the rapidly evolving AR goggles market for sports enthusiasts and athletes. In these applications, the display will show information such as alerts, notifications, navigation info, reticles and performance metrics. VGA resolution may be sufficient in these applications and microLED technology has the added benefit of excellent outdoor readability at relatively low power consumption.

MicroLED Display Application in AR Glasses for Sports

The new display was announced several months ago as the third product line in JBD’s AmμLED™ family of microLED. The company initially demonstrated a monochrome 0.31” display with 1280×720 resolution (5 μm pitch), followed by a 0.22” with 1920×1080 resolution (2.5 μm pitch). The 0.22” panel is most likely targeted at high end AR smart glasses with rich content.

When DSCC interviewed CEO and Founder Dr Qiming Li in August 2020, he said the company’s 0.31” display was a sampler that still required separate controllers to be driven. It will also be used as their development platform for future full color displays. The new 0.13” display appears to be designed as a finished product and is easier to integrate into a system. There is no need for extra bridge ICs and the display data is transferred directly over an SPI/QSPI interface.

The smaller size is also likely to help increase yield and set a price point that will be acceptable for customers. Since the display backplane is a CMOS silicon IC, the size of the display has a great impact on cost.

The JBD4UM480P displays are fabricated using the same JBD’s proprietary hybridization technology that the company presented previously. They bond the LED epiwafer (InGaN on sapphire for blue and green, AlGaInP on GaAs for red) with the silicon IC backplane to obtain monolithic chips. There are no quantum dots or other color conversion materials. Last year, JBD was showing 4” bonded wafers at tradeshows.

JBD’s Hybrid Integration (Presented at Display Week 2020)

According to JBD’s press release, the JBD4UM480P IC backplane includes multiple functions that allow the display chip to operate at low power consumption mode for static images or images that change slowly. The IC backplane also has a frame buffer and can support both global shutter and rolling shutter modes. It can support over 5000 steps of global luminance levels and image enhancement functions, including brightness uniformity compensation and gamma correction are implemented with the built-in OTP memory. The power consumption of the display is only a few hundred milliwatts under average operation conditions.

JBD’s manufacturing process also enables the integration of pixel level optics (Pixel Optics™) for each individual pixel. This feature helps collimate the light emission and facilitates efficient coupling with external optics. JBD confirmed to DSCC that Pixel Optics will be included by default on the JBD4UM480P series.

As with any monolithic microLED display, realizing a full color display is still a challenge. Since JBD only offers monochrome panels currently, the company says two types of polychrome solutions are available to customers: a polychrome module projector or a set of individual monochrome projectors.

In the polychrome module projector, an X-cube prism is used to combine images from three individual 0.13” monochrome panels attached to the faces of the X-cube prism. The combined light emits from the fourth surface of the X-cube and is projected by a group of lenses. The volume of the entire module, including the 3 panels, a X-cube prism, and the projection optics, is smaller than 1.4 cubic centimeters.

Polychrome Module with X-cube Prism and Three 0.13” Panels

Specifications of the Polychrome Module with X-cube Prism

The second solution uses three individual monochrome projectors, each of which has a volume of 0.4 cubic centimeters. JBD says that diffractive waveguides with multiple layers and inputs are needed to combine the images from the three individual projectors. While it is possible to use laser beam scanners (LBS) with waveguides, JBD says microLED displays have no moving parts or hazardous light sources.

Monochrome Projector with 0.13” Panel

JBD will release the following development kits:

  • JBD4UM480P MicroLED Development kit with a single monochrome display
  • JBD4UM480P MicroLED Development kit with monochrome Red, Green and Blue displays
  • JBD4UM480P MicroLED Monochrome Projector Development kit
  • JBD4UM480P MicroLED Polychrome Projector Development Kit

“Having already launched high resolution & ultra-high pixel density microLED displays for applications requiring immersive content we found that there was a genuine need for an ultra-compact, ultra-bright and power efficient microLED display for applications focused on status and information based augmented and mixed reality”, Dr Qiming Li states in the press release. “Our breakthrough technology will now enable developers to create next-generation end products with the smallest and sleekest of form factors enhancing user comfort and fulfil the much-desired requirements for outdoor readability, excellent contrast and longer operating times between charges. Furthermore, our JBD4UM480P microLED displays will be competitively priced in tens of dollars (USD) which will see the end-products successfully breach the price sensitive consumer markets.”

Dr Li previously told DSCC that production capacity for the 0.13” display was 250K panels per month, and that capacity would double by the end of 2021 and reach 2M panels per month by 2023. He also indicated that in 3 years they would double the resolution while keeping the same 0.13” diagonal.

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Written by

Dr. Guillaume Chansin