Ross Young
Ross.Young@DisplaySupplyChain.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 04/22/2019


MicroLED CEOs to Update Market/Technology Outlook and Investment Opportunities at SID/DSCC Investor Conference​

Campbell, CA and Austin, TX -

The Society for Information Display (SID) and Display Supply Chain Consultants (DSCC) will be hosting a display investor conference which will feature CEOs from three of the leading microLED companies. To be held on May 14th at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center as part of SID’s DisplayWeek, the microLED session at the SID/DSCC Investor Conference should be quite valuable and potentially quite lucrative to attendees. MicroLEDs have the potential to significantly outperform any other display technology in terms of brightness, power, color gamut coverage, contrast ratio and more. However, not every company is equal and there are clear manufacturing challenges. Of course, not all companies may be winners either. CEOs from three of the leading microLED developers will reveal where there companies are at today, what their biggest challenges are, when they expect to begin to penetrate the market with their unique solutions and current investment opportunities.

The three CEOs and companies presenting include:

  • PlayNitride - Dr. Charles Li
  • VueReal – Dr. Reza Chaji
  • Glo – Fariba Danesh


PlayNitride

PlayNitride considers itself a design house of Nitride-based devices and systems. It was founded in 2014, but has quickly achieved success as a fabless nitride material design house focused on the innovation and integration of nitride material related technologies with microLEDs probably the most interesting application. PlayNitride believes microLEDs are the ultimate display fulfilling all display requirements. Samsung used PlayNitride microLEDs in their 75” microLED TV shown at CES which showed tremendous performance and is positioned to take over the very large-sized TV market. Samsung has reportedly taken a 30% stake in PlayNitride.

PlayNitride has developed its PixeLED display technology to build microLEDs and its SMAR.Tech pixel repair technology. The PixeLED technology includes its mass transfer process. PlayNitride claims it can achieve 1500 PPI as well as defect free panels. We are excited to get an update on their commercialization plans.

PlayNitride has a $17M production facility in Hsinchu, Taiwan. It claims it has achieved mass transfer and placement yield rates of greater than 99%. At SID in 2018, PlayNitride demonstrate 2 prototypes:

  • 0.89” 64 x 64 (105 PPI) with 800 nits
  • 3.12” 256 x 256 (116 PPI)

We would expect to see much denser prototypes or products at SID this year. Dr. Li received his PhD in Electrical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and studied under Professor Fred Schubert, one of the world’s leading authorities on LEDs.

VueReal

Dr. Reza Chaji will present an update on VueReal’s progress. Chaji is the founder and CEO. VueReal was formed in 2016, but has made tremendous progress due to the expertise of Chaji and his team. Chaji has extensive experience in the development and design of pixel circuits, driving technology, backplanes and image enhancement algorithms for emissive displays through 12 years at Ignis Innovation, a fabless designer of anti-burn-in/image retention compensation technology for OLEDs, where he rose to President and CTO.

In Chaji’s abstract, he indicated that as a result of their deep insight into the limitations of existing display solutions, the VueReal founders came up with an innovative technology based on microLEDs. Chaji indicated that by Integrating microLEDs into display substrates they can achieve 2-3X power savings, significant performance enhancement (higher brightness, better color purity and higher contrast ratio), versatile functionality and different form factors (flexible system).

He indicated that existing approaches toward microLEDs come with significant challenges such as low yield, low throughput, high power consumption, high cost and non-manufacturability for mainstream display applications. In addition, he believes all these factors are tightly connected. For example, making LEDs smaller to reduce the cost causes yield, throughput, performance and power consumption to suffer significantly.

VueReal has developed a 4K microLED at 6000 PPI, an industry record. They have also been able to achieve brightness on other devices as high as 10,000 nits.

According to Chaji, “VueReal has developed microLED technologies that decouple these challenges to address them individually. The VueReal microprinting process in combination with its display architecture offers 100% yield without increasing display costs. Moreover, the microprinting process is compatible with small size LED while covering different display sizes without compromising the yield and throughput. VueReal’s high yield and throughput solution includes novel microLED structures, a self-aligned transfer solution, a robust modular microprinting process, inspection technologies, unique repair process, and system level defect management. VueReal is shipping microLED development samples to customers in Q4 2019 and is currently working on the complete a-to-z configuration for its microLED solution to accelerate the adoption of microLED displays in the market.”

We hope to learn more about its microprinting process, display architecture, inspection and repair processes, target markets, prototypes, mass production timing, partnerships, investment opportunities and more during his talk. So far, the company has raised $10.5M in its Series A led by the venture arm of a large venture company and a leading North America vendor focused on startups with emerging technology. It raised another $8.5M in October 2018 from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), a foundation created by the Government of Canada to advance clean technology innovation in Canada by funding small and medium sized enterprises developing clean technology solutions, which allows it to build an Advanced Nano-Technology Center.

Glō

glō’s presentation will be delivered by their CEO Fariba Danesh. Fariba has over 30 years of experience in leading businesses and advanced technology teams with extensive experience in photonics and manufacturing. Previous positions include CEO at Genoa, COO of Finisar, GM & SVP at Avago Fiber Optics and EVP of Maxtor.

glō received a $15M investment from Google for a 13% stake in 2017. However, it has attracted close to $140M in funding through 2017 from other major investors including Wellington Partners and Sweden’s Foundation Asset Management. Its GaN nanowire technology is based on extensive research conducted by the Center for Nanoscience at Lund University. Other investors include Teknoinvest AS, Nano Future Invest AS, Quadia, Energy Future Invest II AS and Agder Energi Venture AS.

Its focus has been the development of defect-free, 3D nanowires that enable red, green and blue microLEDs with the reliability of an inorganic materials system. The efficiency of the nanowire microLEDs improves with smaller sizes according to glō. With its patented room temperature wafer transfer technology, millions of RGB microLEDs can be transferred with high yields, bonded to active backplanes made out of Si, glass or flexible substrates. The company claims its nLEDs demonstrate a 10X brightness advantage over OLEDs and delivers >10X the brightness at the same power budget.

glō has been working on developing highly efficient microLEDs from InGaN for more than a decade. Most of the effort was on green microLEDs and later red. By being able to make all 3 colors using InGaN, no color compensation is required and it simplifies the demand on any compensation circuitry and no col. Red has been notoriously difficult to produce with InGaN, but they have been able to achieve impressive results. Glo claims that the InGaN material also has the advantage of longer lifetimes and better temperature stability, reducing the burden on compensation circuitry. The company makes all 3 colors of microLEDs from InGaN down to 1.5 microns. What makes them unique is that they peak at current densities 1/100th of traditional LEDs, which makes them ideal for LTPS on glass or CMOS substrates. Being able to use commercial backplanes in LTPS and CMOS allows them to target various display sizes and resolutions with the best performance.

The last 4 years it has been focused on developing a selective direct wafer transfer technology, building a complete display technology portfolio, which it allows it to produce displays ranging in size from 0.1” to 75” with resolutions up to 3000 PPI. Glo can also use standard compensation circuitry needed for OLED LTPS and CMOS uniformity, thus, standard LTPS driver electronics and compensation are used. Its microLEDs are specifically designed to be efficient in the low current regimes offered by LTPS and CMOS

At CES it showed:

  • 1.5” smart watch display with 20 micron microLEDs at 264 PPI on LTPS glass with 4000 nits of brightness, infinite contrast, 120% refresh, 121% of DCI P3 with 1W of power which is impressive.
  • 0.7”diagonal RGB display for AR and HUD applications with 10 micron microLEDs at 1000 PPI on CMOS. This display produced 100,000 nits of brightness, infinite contrast, 120% DCI-P3, 120Hz refresh and consumed 3.25W.

Based on its smartwatch, glo’s solution offers 10X more brightness and 5X better power efficiency with equal or better color than the best OLED. It has achieved 4000 nits from LTPS backplanes and 150,000 nits from CMOS backplanes. Neighboring pixels can be turned completely off enabling true HDR displays with achievable brightness an order of magnitude better than OLED according to the company.

It has partnered with leading global LED manufacturers since it is fabless and has partnered with large display manufacturers to produce display modules. It is targeting a commercial launch of microLEDs on LTPS backplanes for smartwatches in the 2H’19. Its next target after smartwatches, is smartphones. In parallel, they are working on AR glasses and HUD for automotive and defense applications to produce microLEDs on CMOS backplanes.

We hope to learn more about their supply chain, product introductions, latest prototypes, investment opportunities, cost estimates for smartphones and more.

These companies are making great progress and it really should be an interesting session. Qualified investors can register through DSCC at a significant discount. Please contact Dustin@displaysupplychain or 832-451-4909.


About Display Week 2019
The 56th Display Week, presented by the Society for Information Display (SID), will take place May 12-17 at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, Calif. Display Week is the world's leading event focused on emerging electronic display and visual information technologies from concept to market. Display Week attracts attendees from the entire ecosystem of R&D, engineering, design, manufacturing, supply chain, marketing, sales and financial, as well as commercial and consumer end-user markets. It delivers unparalleled learning opportunities, market-moving trends, sourcing, roadmaps-to-market, and connections for career and business growth. For more information on Display Week 2019, visit www.displayweek.org or follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter @DisplayWeek (hashtag #DisplayWeek19), Instagram @siddisplayweek or the Display Week YouTube Channel.

About SID
The Society for Information Display (SID) is the only professional organization focused on the electronic display and visual information technology industries. In fact, by exclusively focusing on the advancement of electronic display and visual information technologies, SID provides a unique platform for industry collaboration, communication and training in all related technologies while showcasing the industry's best new products. The organization's members are professionals in the technical and business disciplines that relate to display research, design, manufacturing, applications, marketing and sales. To promote industry and academic technology development, while also educating consumers on the importance of displays, SID hosts more than 10 conferences a year, including Display Week, which brings industry and academia all under one roof to showcase technology that will shape the future. SID's global headquarters are located at 1475 S. Bascom Ave., Ste. 114, Campbell, CA 95008. For more information, visit www.sid.org.


About DSCC

Display Supply Chain Consultants (DSCC) was formed by experienced display market analysts from throughout the display supply chain and delivers valuable insights through consulting, syndicated reports and events. The company has offices in the US, Europe, Japan, Korea and China.

DSCC is on the web at www.displaysupplychain.com and can be reached in the US at info@displaysupplychain.com or (770) 503-6318.