MicroLED arrays can be game-changer for AR glasses

15th December 2021
Mick Elliott

What are said to be the industry’s first microLED arrays-for-AR built on a 300mm CMOS manufacturing platform has been introduced by MICLEDI Microdisplay.

MICLEDI says its solution is uniquely positioned to address the needs of future AR glasses in terms of the display size, resolution, brightness, image quality, power consumption and cost. Three attributes cited by the company are:

  • CMOS-fab compatible, RGB epitaxial materials reconstituted on 300mm CMOS wafers, co-integrated with advanced node CMOS backplane ASICs via W2W hybrid bonding.
  • Pixel-level Fresnel lens beam shaping for high-efficiency waveguide integration.
  • MicroLED technology tailored for industry-standard tooling and process steps available for volume manufacturing at CMOS foundries.

Belgium-based MICLEDI is a spin-off of IMEC, the world-leading research and innovation hub in nano-electronics and digital technologies.

The company leveraged IMEC’s extensive background in 3D integration technologies and a unique access to the world-class 300mm CMOS pilot-line infrastructure for the microLED development and prototyping.

AR headsets today are heavy and bulky, image realism is poor, resolution is low, and headsets are costly. Nearly every leading technology company is investing in AR to drive the future of their consumer offerings and microLED displays are a mission-critical component.

According to industry analyst firm Yole Development, the demand for microdisplays in AR headsets is projected to grow at CAGR >100%, rising to more than $1.8B in 2025 and more than $4.9B in 2027.

Says Sean Lord, CEO of MICLEDI, “AR headsets today can be found in industrial and medical niche markets. We intend to change that by enabling AR glasses that are stylish, compact, lightweight, with long battery life, and images that look just like reality. The Holy Grail in AR glasses. Our 300mm manufacturing flow is the technology needed to overcome the challenges with first- and second-generation AR glasses and is necessary to achieve the features consumers will require for the ultimate visually immersive AR experience.”

Next month, at CES 2022 in Las Vegas, marks MICLEDI’s first availability of demonstration units. “It is only fitting that CES is the venue to showcase our remarkable achievement,” added Lord. “CES is where advanced technologies take center stage for all the world to see and AR is one area that is in rapid adoption with leaders from FAANG companies and a plethora of smaller innovators.”

MICLEDI plans to sample their microLEDs to customers beginning in Q1 2022.

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