“Taking on an emerging technology, this project needed a bold player that could take the risks — Samsung was it”
– Tae-yong Son, Vice President, MICRO LED Team, Visual Display Business at Samsung Electronics
Samsung Electronics stands at the forefront of transformative display technology, leveraging its industry prowess and expertise to lead product innovation in the global TV market for 17 years. The company has consistently changed the industry landscape through its groundbreaking advancements that allow users to experience the world in new ways.
Recently, Samsung raised the bar again with the release of the next-generation MICRO LED — an exceptional display technology that provides an unparalleled viewing experience. Samsung Newsroom sat down with Tae-yong Son, Vice President, MICRO LED Team, Visual Display Business at Samsung Electronics, to learn more about the display’s inception.
The Intricate Details of MICRO LED Technology
As customers continue to desire higher-definition screens for their homes, TV manufacturers must use the latest visual technologies to create more advanced displays. MICRO LED meets these demands, boasting a modular design that provides users with a superior viewing experience. The ultra-customizable MICRO LED panels allow users to personalize the shape, size and ratio of their screens to fit any space or environment.
In addition to incredibly versatile sizing options, MICRO LED displays utilize LEDs that are densely packed together and smaller than 50µm in size. Each individual LED emits light and the three primary colors — red, green and blue — resulting in stunning picture quality without the need for a color filter.
“Traditional displays such as OLED and LCD have a filter and additional layers of materials over their light source which can block or absorb some of the light and impact the visual experience,” explained Son. “On the other hand, MICRO LED does not utilize additional material layers, ensuring unmatched color reproduction.”
Another distinguishing feature of MICRO LED is Samsung’s nanometer technology, derived from the company’s leading semiconductor expertise. This allows for LED chip operation circuits to be directly deposited on the glass, mitigating any loss of brightness that users may experience with conventional displays. Additionally, inorganic LEDs eliminate the possibility of screen burn-ins or permanent screen discoloration.
Pioneering the Next Frontier in Displays
The creation of MICRO LED marked a significant step forward in visual display technology. While previous iterations of TVs were created and commercialized through collective industry innovation, the development of MICRO LED was notably different — combining years of extensive research and testing undertaken by Son and his team.
“We were determined to provide viewers with a next-level visual experience,” said Son. “As it was an emerging technology, there were various challenges to overcome. This project needed a bold player that could take the risks – Samsung was it. Samsung We recruited brilliant experts for the project and invested heavily in the success of the product which went through numerous rounds of trial and error.”
As the name suggests, a MICRO LED display consists of millions of LED units — the most fundamental yet essential part of a screen. For the display to function at peak performance, each LED unit is rigorously tested against the highest quality benchmarks.
The substrate for the LED chips is constructed before the chips are meticulously transferred onto it, creating a unified module. Once produced, the module is assembled into a display and undergoes more than 600 hours of extensive reliability tests and stabilization procedures to ensure that the display provides a stunning visual experience for users.
Son explained the precision needed to place the LEDs that makes the process extremely challenging. “Imagine trying to place a tiny object, smaller than a human hair, in a specific position and angle. Then, repeat this action over half a million times. This is the process for placing LEDs, with each placement needing to be flawless,” he said.
To streamline this process, Samsung’s development team began to seek out a new solution. Drawing from the company’s semiconductor expertise, the team adopted techniques used to delicately place circuits on silicon wafers and applied them to MICRO LEDs displays. After testing out the method, the process was deemed a success and considered commercially viable for future production.
“We never lost sight of our goal of creating a revolutionary display. We never lost faith.”
– Tae-yong Son, Vice President, Samsung Electronics
The display’s modular nature posed another challenge for developers: How could they create a single, unified image uninterrupted by lines or bezels? After years of refinement, Samsung was able to create an advanced auto-assembly method, allowing 49 distinct modules to merge seamlessly into a single, breathtaking bezel-less display.
“After six years and more than 200 iterations, we honed the technology that integrates each individual module to create MICRO LED displays of all sizes,” said Son. “Despite the hurdles we faced along the way, we never lost sight of our goal of creating a revolutionary display. We never doubted that we’ll make it.”
Initiate, Iterate, Innovate: The Relentless Pursuit of Innovation
A sense of understanding and like-mindedness among the developers was instrumental during the development of MICRO LED technology. Son emphasized that “engineers need to overcome the fear of failure, understand that it’s part of the innovation process.” Realizing that failure provides an opportunity for future success and innovation, Son and his team used their setbacks as motivation to continue developing.
“Embracing a culture of courage and curiosity, we were able to forge ahead — recognizing that each challenge we encountered was a step in the right direction toward innovation,” explained Son. “Thanks to the hard work and dedication of our team, we were able to bring this revolutionary technology to life. Viewing the process of trial and error as a learning opportunity rather than a hindrance can help propel us closer to technological breakthroughs.”
Bringing MICRO LED Closer to Consumers
While MICRO LED displays are poised to redefine the industry, introducing them to the market poses certain challenges — longer consumer adoption cycles, significant initial investments and the need to scale manufacturing processes efficiently. Alongside these factors, well-established alternatives such as LCDs and OLEDs currently dominate the market, making market penetration of MICRO LED screens slower and more difficult.
“Engineers need to overcome the fear of failure — it’s just part of the innovation process”
– Tae-yong Son, Vice President, Samsung Electronics
Despite this, Son views these challenges as opportunities. “The display market is constantly evolving and new technologies often take time to find their footing,” stated Son. “While adoption may be slow right now, it’s reflective of the typical incubation period for advanced technologies. As we continue to innovate and drive down production costs, MICRO LED technology will become more accessible to a broader consumer base.”
To introduce MICRO LED displays to more consumers, Samsung plans to invest in methods that will optimize manufacturing processes and effectively reduce costs — alongside targeted marketing efforts to educate consumers on the unique benefits of MICRO LED screens. Although MICRO LED technology is still in the early market stages, interest has been steadily growing with 110-inch MICRO LED displays having been sold since its official release. Likewise, the recently released 89-inch version has been pre-ordered from various nations around the world, indicating increased demand among consumers.
“MICRO LED is truly the pinnacle of consumer display, and it will redefine the visual experience across various devices,” said Son. “From augmented reality to the next generation of wearables, this cutting-edge technology underscores the vision we hold for the future — an era of hyper-realistic viewing experiences, all powered by MICRO LED innovation.”
For more information on Samsung’s MICRO LED, please visit samsung.com.
Source: Samsung Global Newsroom