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Micro OLED and the differences from Micro LED and OLED

Micro OLED and its differences from Micro LED and OLED
Micro OLED and its differences from Micro LED and OLED

Will Micro OLED technology follow OLED and Micro LED? What is Micro OLED and how is it different from OLED? When will the production of the first Micro LED displays be established, and where will these displays be used? As you can see, everything is not as simple as it seems at first glance. But both LG Display and Samsung Display are already working on this technology.

Micro OLED and OLED – differences

Even if the name may indicate a new display technology: Micro OLED basically still means “regular” OLED screens. However, the production technology of these screens is completely different. In the case of Micro OLED, panels are cut from silicon wafers instead of glass or plastic substrates.

This makes it easier to produce high resolution screens that are thinner and much smaller. Micro OLED is a display made by depositing red, blue and green (RGB) organic materials onto a silicon wafer.

Because it uses semiconductor technology, it tends to pack more picture elements (pixels) into a smaller panel. While typical display resolutions are only a few hundred PPI (pixel density), micro OLEDs can have thousands of PPIs.

This means that it supports ultra-high resolution even at a small size. An industry insider familiar with Samsung Display said, “Micro OLED is a small and thin display with a pixel size of several tens of micrometers (㎛). Therefore, the processing of semiconductors is essential.”

Micro OLED by LG Display

Let’s start with LG Display, which appears to have teamed up with SK Hynix and Meta, the companies behind Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram, as well as the Quest line of VR headsets. This is no coincidence because Micro OLED is particularly suitable for small, high-resolution screens such as those used in AR and VR headsets.

Meta is showing significant interest in this technology for its Quest VR headsets. Therefore, it directly cooperates with SK Hynix and LG Display. But competitors are not asleep either. Samsung is also already working on Micro OLED.

Micro OLED by Samsung Display

And Samsung Display must also have a strong partner. Instead of Meta, Samsung managed to negotiate with Apple developers. Rumor has it that Apple is also planning to release its own headset, which will rely on the new Micro OLED technology.

Samsung Display also sees a particular advantage of the technology in that very small displays with very high resolutions can be realized. It has also been reported that Samsung Display already has corresponding production lines. According to ETNews, production could begin as early as the second half of 2023.

It is reported that Samsung has chosen “Micro Organic Light-Emitting Diode” as the next generation display technology. This is an ultra-high resolution display with a small size of about one inch. It is expected to be used in augmented reality (XR) devices, consisting of augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR).

According to industry reports on February 8, 2023, Samsung Display plans to build a micro display line in Asan, South Chungcheong Province. In particular, it prepared an organic-based micro-OLED production line and placed an order for related equipment. The size is not specified.

Since this is an early stage, it is expected that the first line will be created at the level of a “pilot project”, producing small batches. It is expected that operation will begin in the second half of the year, taking into account the equipment delivery schedule. Lee Jae-young, chairman of Samsung Electronics, visited Samsung Display on February 7th and said, “Let’s develop skills through continuous innovation and proactive investment.”

Particular attention was paid to securing the “core technology of the future”. The industry sees microOLED as one of the mainstream. Samsung Display is focusing its efforts on the commercialization of micro-OLED under the leadership of President Choi Joo-sung. Samsung Display set up a micro display group in the research center at the end of 2022.

Samsung Display’s Micro OLED is expected to be installed in XR devices from Samsung Electronics, Qualcomm and Google. Roh Tae Moon, Head of the MX (Mobile Experience) Business Unit at Samsung Electronics, made the surprise announcement at Galaxy Unpacked 2023 held in San Francisco on February 1, 2023.

He said: “We are preparing for the next generation of XR in collaboration with Qualcomm and Google.” Christiano Amon, CEO of Qualcomm, and Hiroshi Lockheimer, senior vice president of Google, were with him. Following Meta’s announcement, it became known that Apple will release the XR device, while Samsung, Google and Qualcomm will form an alliance.

Samsung Display is believed to have chosen micro OLED as its next generation product after Micro LED , seeing the growth potential of the XR industry such as Meta, Apple and Samsung. The possibility of supplying Samsung micro OLED to Apple is also being considered. Apple is known to use Sony’s micro-OLED in its first XR device.

However, Apple plans to buy panels from several companies at once for mass production and diversification of supply and demand. It is also known that Apple, Samsung Display and LG Display are also involved in this project. Is MicroOLED technology interesting for other devices such as TVs and monitors? As the saying goes: wait and see. However, the first area of ​​application will appear in AR and VR headsets and possibly smartwatches.

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