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    Samsung and KAIST revolutionize micro LED for VR and wearables

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    Last updated: March 27th, 2023 at 13:36 UTC+02:00

    Samsung may soon get the key to manufacturing small, ultra-high resolution micro LED screens that generate less heat and don't suffer from efficiency degradation. Researchers at KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology) found a way to achieve this by changing the epitaxial structure of micro LEDs.

    One of the biggest hurdles in manufacturing small, high-resolution micro LED screens, such as panels for wearables and augmented and virtual reality glasses, is a phenomenon known as efficiency degradation. In essence, the process of etching micro LED pixels creates defects on the sides of the pixels.

    The smaller the pixel and the higher the display resolution, the more of an issue this pixel side-wall deterioration becomes, leading to dimmer screens, lower quality, and other problems preventing manufacturers from creating small, high-density micro LED panels.

    KAIST researchers found that changing the epitaxial structure can prevent this efficiency degradation phenomenon while reducing heat generated by the display by around 40% compared to conventional micro LED structures.

    Epitaxy is the process of stacking gallium nitride crystals used as light-emitting materials on top of an ultra-pure silicon or sapphire substrate used as a medium for micro LEDs.

    Samsung Display could take the micro LED panel market by storm

    In short, creating small, high-resolution micro LED panels is a real challenge, but KAIST may have solved this puzzle, which could push micro LED display technology to a whole new level.

    Professor Sang-Hyun Kim said, “This technology development has a great meaning in identifying the cause of the decrease in efficiency, which was an obstacle to the miniaturization of micro LED,” adding that “[the technology] will be used for ultra-high resolution displays in the future.”

    But where does Samsung comes in? Well, this possibly ground-breaking research was conducted with the support of the Samsung Future Technology Development Center. And needless to say, this greatly increases the chance of Samsung Display putting this technology into practice for its micro LED panel manufacturing for wearable devices, VR / AR headsets, and other small-screen devices.

    Samsung Electronics is developing a new mixed-reality headset tentatively named “Galaxy Glasses.” And it, too, could benefit from this type of micro LED manufacturing technology. This advancement may also lead to more micro LED wearables and smartwatches.

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