Though OLED Screens provide great very quality graphics, mobile devices and wearable tech requires even thinner screen panels. Solution: Micro-LED Screens
Everyday getting better and thinner smart phones, watches, vr glasses requires big tech companies to seek thinner but more efficient screen technologies. Ladies and Gentleman, this is the screen technology of future: Micro-LED!
Micro-Led is invented by a research group led by Texas Technic University professors Hongxing Jiang and Jingyu Lin in 2000. But technology met consumers in Sony’s 55 Inches Full HD Crystal LED Display TV in 2012. TV was not applicable due to it’s production costs despite the fact it offered much better contrast and color interval.
What is Micro-LED?
Micro-LED technology has a number of similarities and differences with OLED technology. A similarity is; both use LED lights. You’re surprised, are you not ? Not finished yet. Briefly, both are made up of light emitting diodes(LED) and have red, blue, green sub pixels. For this reason, Micro-LED’s will have high contrast values as in OLED’s, and they can show black real ’black’.
The main difference between the two technologies is the materials used. The ‘O’ in the name of the OLED displays comes from the word ‘organic’ and indicates the organic materials used in the pixels. Micro-LED technology uses inorganic GaN(Galium Nitrite) materials as used in standard LED’s. In this case the need for polarization and encapsulation layer is reduced and thinner panels are produced. To sum up, Micro-LED’s enable thinner screens to be produced than OLED’s.
Why not now ?
Now you may ask, if there is a thinner screen technology, why is it not used for 17 years? The problem is that we invented micro-LED screens, but we do not have the technology to produce. More precisely, the current OLED technology has reached a resolution of 4K, even passed it. Since the micro-LED’s are even thinner than human hair, a manufacturing technique to produce micro-LED TV panels at those resolutions has not yet been developed. Also, due to similar reasons, the pixels can not be compressed enough to use the technology on smartphones or smart watches.
Of course all these problems can be overtaken with new manufacturing techniques. For this reason, big companies like Samsung, Apple, Facebook, Oculus, keep researching this technology to use in future products.
What are pros and cons compared to OLED ?
The biggest advantage of Micro-LED over OLED displays is that they can provide the same screen brightness with lower power consumption. It is not surprising that companies such as Samsung and Apple are investing heavily in OLED technology. Because Micro-LED displays require 90% less power than LCD and 50% than OLEDs for the same screen brightness. Micro-LEDs can be the solution we are looking for our charging problems, since it’s the screen that consumes most of battery in our phones and watches.
Another advantage of Micro-LED is that its lifetime is much longer. Organic materials used in the production of OLED displays have limited lifetime, so after a while the screen light begins to turn blue. The lifetime of micro-LED displays is even longer than LCDs.
Since Micro-LED is produced of smaller materials, if new manufacturing technologies are achieved, it will be possible for us to see 4K and 8K smart phone screen resolutions. It is another matter of discussion if it is required. Unto vr; existing OLED screens lowered reaction times to micro seconds. But micro-LED screens might lower it to even nano seconds. It will make use take the most of vr experience.
On to the disadvantage of micro-LED technology: There is only one large OLED manufacturer on the market, which is Samsung. Other screen manufacturers plan to roll out OLED display production in the next 2-3 years. It is expected that the price of micro-LED displays will be 3 or 4 times more expensive than OLED displays at a time when big screen manufacturers are moving to new OLED production. Prices will of course decrease in the future. But in this time of transformation, if the interest in OLED displays pisses the micro-LED screen investors off, the micro-LED display technology can be delayed to a much longer time.