Augmented reality and other smart wearables are extensively taking heights with Micro LED Technology

There has been a development of GaN-on-Si monolithic Micro LED by the UK-based semiconductor technology provider, Plessey. According to the company, the innovative development will support next generations applications such as AR headsets, head-up displays (HUD) and other smart wearables to enter the mass market.

Given their high contrast, high speed, wide viewing angle, high brightness and more efficient and longer-lasting operation, Micro LEDs are perfect for display applications on wearables such as smart watches, HUDs and AR headsets.

However, even till date manufacturing of Micro LEDs has not been easy, because of their tiny size. Today’s pick and place technology has led to placements of individual Micro LEDs on a pitch of less than 50 microns. The equipment used for this is new, expensive and still has productivity issues and as demand grows for higher pixel density, pick-and-place may no longer be viable at all.

Plessey has continued its development of LEDs made from gallium nitride on a substrate of silicon (GaN-on-Si), instead of the usual sapphire. The GaN-on-Si enables the creation of monolithic Micro LEDs which include multiple emitters on a single chip. This approach brings several key advantages, including smaller pixel pitches of as little as 8 microns, the ability to make larger LED emitters, and better contrast, thanks to GaN-on-Si’s surface-emitting properties. The technique can easily be scaled to 200mm wafers and larger, improving cost and yield.

The advancement circumvents the shortcomings of traditional pick-and-place manufacturing and gives Micro LEDs the potential to meet the demanding requirements of emerging AR and display applications. Moreover, the monolithic approach allows Micro LEDs to be built on a CMOS silicon backplane, so standard CMOS circuitry is easily integrated for high-tech applications.

Plessey has the only monolithic Micro LED solution currently available and is now licensing the technology to partners to create custom displays and light sources for a wide range of consumer electronics applications and more.

Dr. Keith Strickland, Plessey’s co-CEO and CTO, will present the company’s proprietary approach of GaN-on-Si Micro LED and introduce how the technology can better optimize AR or MR display applications.