[Photo provided by ETRI]
South Korea’s Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) has developed a new manufacturing technique to make expensive micro light-emitting diode (microLED) products affordable in the mass-consumer market.
According to the state-funded research institute on Tuesday, the new technique which uses laser melding combines two separate manufacturing processes into a single one, making it possible to lower the price of a microLED TV by up to 20 times.
The microLED TV which utilizes individual microscopic LEDs excels LCD or OLED versions in contrast, response times and energy efficiency, but the complex manufacturing process makes it too expensive. Samsung’s 110-inch microLED TV with a price tag of $145,000 is out of reach for ordinary consumers.
Samsung’s 110-inch microLED TV. [Photo by Samsung Electronics Co.]
Conventional microLED manufacturing requires a multi-equipment two-stage process for transferring and bonding. Microscopic LEDs are moved onto a chip, and then diodes and the chip are fused together. But the ETRI’s research team led by Dr. Choi Kwang-seong simplified this process with a single equipment system where a laser is used to heat microLEDs onto a Sitrab film for bonding. Sitrab is a proprietary binding epoxy material developed by the research institute.
ETRI is in talks with several companies over its potential license deal. Commercial production is expected to begin from 2023 once the deal is sealed.
The microLED market is projected to grow at 65 percent CAGR until 2027, according to market tracker Omdia last year.
By Lee Sae-bom and Minu Kim
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