Plessey wants to be first to market with monolithic microLED displays


January 08, 2018 // By Julien Happich
Plessey Semiconductor is committed to being the first to market with a monolithic microLED based display based on GaN-on-Silicon, expecting to deliver its first products within the first quarter of 2018.

The company has also started an extensive licensing programme to share its GaN-on-Silicon expertise to microLED manufacturers in line with its new business strategy, as a technology platform provider.

Demand for microLED displays is accelerating with research consultancy Yole Développement forecasting the market could reach up to 330 million units by 2025.

“We made the decision to become a technology platform provider in order to get our technology out to the widest possible manufacturing base to meet this growing demand,” explained Michael LeGoff, CEO, Plessey Semiconductor.

“By being the first to market with a monolithic microLED display we will be demonstrating our expertise and the ability to access our proven turn-key solution, enabling manufacturers to ramp up the development and production of microLED displays to address emerging applications.” 

One of the main challenges involved with manufacturing microLED displays using a non-monolithic approach is the placement of LED chips onto a CMOS backplane, currently achieved using pick and place equipment. This involves the individual placement of every LED on a pitch of less than 50μm, requiring new and expensive equipment that is subject to productivity issues. As the pixel density of displays increases and pitch reduces, pick and place becomes less feasible both commercially and technically.

Moving to a monolithic process removes the need for chip placement and will enable smaller and higher resolution displays for a range of applications, including virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and head-up displays.