Analysis of the difference between Mini LED and Micro LED

Publisher: Supplier of LED Display Time: 2022-08-11 09:24 Views: 1191

Mini LED and Micro LED are regarded as next-generation display technologies, and their market prospects are promising. Since the concept of Mini LED and Micro LED is so hot, what are they? What's the difference between the two? Lianchengfa Xiaobian will take you to analyze the two from the perspectives of R&D progress, industry application, manufacturer layout, and equipment pain points.


1. Definition


Definition of Mini LED: Mini LED, also known as "sub-millimeter light-emitting diode", uses 100-200 micron LED crystals and is an improved version of traditional LED backlights. Mini LED technology is considered to be a transition technology between traditional LED and Micro LED. Using Mini LED can produce a display with 0.5-1.2 mm pixel particles, and the display effect is much better than that of traditional LED screen.


Definition of Micro LED: Micro LED is LED miniaturization and matrixing technology. In simple terms, it is to thin, miniaturize and array the LED backlight, which can make the LED unit smaller than 100 microns, and can realize each image like OLED. Elements are individually addressed and individually driven to emit light (self-luminous).


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2. Development prospects


Mini LED development prospects:


Mini LEDs are mainly used in display screens, automotive displays, mobile phones and wearable devices. Since mid-2018, the application side of Pad, car, e-sports, and TV (especially TV) have all shown a strong interest in Mini LED, using it as an alternative to OLED. Driven by market demand, the production and R&D of Mini LED is accelerating.


Micro LED development prospects:


As a new generation of display products, Micro LED will mainly be applied in the existing market of LCD and OLED in the future. Application directions include smart watches, smart phones, tablets, automotive instrumentation and central control, and TVs (including large-size TVs and super-size TVs). From a market perspective, Micro LED is more suitable for indoor large-size displays and small-size wearable devices, such as smart watches, in the short term.


3. R&D progress analysis


At present, the development of Mini LED is more mature, and the technical difficulties of Micro LED need to be overcome.


(Data source: MIR Databank)


Mini LED Analysis


1. Analysis of major manufacturers


The outbreak of the epidemic has had a huge impact on industries such as landscape lighting and entertainment activities, and the performance of various display and lighting engineering application manufacturers has been affected to varying degrees.


Upstream manufacturers (epitaxial wafers & chips)


Sanan Optoelectronics:


● In the first quarter of 2020, Sanan Optoelectronics achieved operating income of 1.682 billion yuan, a year-on-year decrease of 2.74%; net profit was 392 million yuan, a year-on-year decrease of 36.95%.


● On July 20, Sanan Optoelectronics stated on the interactive platform that the company is currently supplying Mini LED chips to Samsung in batches, while other customers are verifying and supplying in small quantities.


Epistar:


● On July 27, Epistar said that with the unblocking of European and American markets, orders for Q2 this year have been restarted, and the visibility of orders for various LED backlight products has reached September. It also picked up, with visibility extending into the fourth quarter of this year.


Huacan Optoelectronics:


● In the first quarter of 2020, HC Semitek's operating income was 453 million yuan, a year-on-year decrease of 17.61%; the net profit attributable to shareholders of listed companies was -75 million yuan, a 48% decrease from the loss in the same period last year.


● On April 3, Huacan Optoelectronics released a non-public offering plan. The total amount of funds to be raised is not more than 1.5 billion yuan, of which 1.2 billion yuan is planned to be invested in mini/Micro LED R&D and manufacturing projects.


Midstream Vendors (Packaging)


National Star Optoelectronics:


● In the first quarter of 2020, the operating income of Nationstar Optoelectronics was 672 million yuan, a year-on-year decrease of 36.40%; the net profit attributable to shareholders of listed companies was 40 million yuan, a year-on-year decrease of 61.46%.


● On August 7, Nationstar announced that it plans to invest no more than 1.9 billion yuan in the next five years, mainly for the construction of R&D and production sites, advanced LED packaging and application production lines, focusing on the production of RGB small-pitch, Mini LED, TOP LED, etc. product.


Ruifeng Optoelectronics:


● In the first quarter of 2020 report, the operating income of Ruifeng Optoelectronics was 228 million yuan, a year-on-year decrease of 26.01%; the net profit attributable to shareholders of the listed company was 7 million yuan, a year-on-year decrease of 56.06%.


● In May, Ruifeng Optoelectronics announced that it plans to invest in the full-color surface mount LED (full-color LED) packaging expansion project, MiniLED backlight packaging production project, Micro LED technology R&D center project and other related investments in Yiwu, Zhejiang to expand production capacity , enhance profitability. The total investment of the project is 1 billion yuan, of which 600 million yuan is invested in fixed assets.


Downstream manufacturers (mobile phones, displays, panels)


Samsung Electronics:


● In the second quarter of fiscal 2020, Samsung Electronics' consolidated revenue reached KRW 52.97 trillion, down 5.6% year-on-year, and its net profit was KRW 5.55 trillion, up 7.2% year-on-year.


● Samsung expects to launch a variety of Mini LED-backlit TVs of different sizes in 2021, with a total number of possibly as high as 3 million units.


AUO:


● On July 30, AUO announced its second quarter 2020 performance report. According to the report, AUO’s consolidated operating income in the second quarter was NT$63.50 billion (approximately RMB 15.17 billion), and the net loss was NT$2.96 billion (approximately RMB 700 million).


● In August, AUO stated that the MiniLED display launched in 2019 was successfully introduced into creator notebooks this year, and it is expected to cooperate with brand factories to launch MiniLED gaming notebooks and desktops in the second half of the year.


Huaxing Optoelectronics:


● In the first quarter of 2020, TCL Huaxing achieved revenue of 9.14 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 25.3%; net profit was -174 million yuan.


● CSOT launched the world's first IGZO-TFT version of RGB Mini LED full-color display.


2. Application Analysis


Mini LED will gradually be introduced into industrial applications and begin to accelerate. The downstream market of Mini LED in 2023 is expected to be as follows:


(Data source: Yole Développement)


● The automotive market is the main force for the development of Mini LED in the next few years, and it is expected to explode in 2023. The shipment volume of Mini LED in the automotive field in 2019 is not yet specific. It is expected that the shipment will reach 35.7 million units in 2023, making it one of the four largest applications.


● In the smartphone market, the current main competitor of Mini LED is OLED panel. With the continuous reduction of the cost of Mini LED, it is expected that the rapid application in the mobile phone market will be realized in 2023.


● TV, on the TV side, Mini LED can help LCDs bridge the gap and regain market share of OLED TVs in the high-margin high-end market, an opportunity for panel and display makers that have not invested in OLED technology More attractive.


● In the display market, it can be used in various small and medium-sized high value-added displays: Mini LEDs can perform better than OLED screens in terms of cost, contrast ratio, high brightness and thin and light appearance.


3. Layout of manufacturers in downstream industries


(Information source: MIR Databank)


Micro LED Analysis


1. Application Analysis


(Data source: MIR Databank)


Reason analysis - short-term: According to the product size and PPI requirements on the market, the LED size and pixel quantity are calculated.


Reason analysis - mid-term: Since the size needs to be reduced to 5μm to 30μm, the number of pixels used according to the resolution requirements is also as high as millions, so the cost is not easy to reduce, and the mass production schedule will be delayed.


Reason analysis - long-term: whether it can develop into the mainstream consumer electronics market, or even replace the current OLED TV or LCD TV, is limited by production costs.


2. Market development analysis


Apple and Sony preempted the layout, targeting two extreme size applications:


Apple: Specializing in small-size Micro LED applications, in 2016, it has experimentally lit up a 6-inch Micro LED display.


Sony: Specializing in large-size Micro LED screens, the "Crystal LED Display" (pixel pitch about 635μm) was launched as early as 2012, but the cost was very expensive.


(Information source: MIR Databank)


3. The latest research and development results


(Information source: MIR Databank)


4. Mini LED chip segment and packaging segment equipment pain point analysis


Due to the high threshold of Micro LED technology, the mass transfer, detection and repair also pose great challenges to major manufacturers. Therefore, the current Micro LED display production technology is still in its infancy. The Mini LED display has gradually matured and entered the stage of mass production. Next, we will select some equipment in the Mini LED chip segment and packaging segment for analysis.


Chip segment pain point equipment - lithography machine


(Information source: MIR Databank)


Pain point: It is difficult to display the exposed and developed images


Traditional LEDs are exposed and developed on 500-micron core particles. Now, Mini LEDs need to expose and develop circuit diagrams on 100-200-micron core particles. Higher accuracy is required, and the exposed and developed graphics are easier to display.


Chip segment pain point equipment - cutting machine


(Information source: MIR Databank)


Pain point: low aesthetics on the back of the core particles after cutting


The traditional process will cause the back of the cut chip to be unsightly, because the traditional LED uses a formal chip, and customers will not pay attention to the back when using it. On the other hand, Mini LED is a flip chip, and the chip is on the back side, which requires higher aesthetics on the back side.


Pain point equipment in the packaging segment - die bonding machine


(Information source: MIR Databank)


Pain point 1: The thimble is easy to be crooked


As the Mini LED chip is getting smaller and smaller, the deviation of the ejector pin is required to be smaller, and the accuracy is required to be higher.


Pain point 2: Precise dispensing is difficult


Incorrect dispensing position may lead to leakage and other consequences. The fluidity of the glue is controlled by temperature, so precise temperature control is required. At present, the temperature control ability of the die bonder needs to be improved.


Pain point 3: Vacuum suction is difficult to control


The vacuum suction Mini LED chip has higher requirements for vacuum degree. The machine determines whether it is suctioned and put down through vacuum detection. The sensitivity of the vacuum detection sensor determines the accuracy of vacuum suction.


Pain point equipment in the packaging segment - wire bonding machine


(Information source: MIR Databank)


Pain point: wiring and welding are easy to dislocate

The operations of wire bonding and welding are precisely positioned through PR image technology. With the development of technology, Mini LEDs are getting smaller and smaller, and the requirements for image processing capabilities are also higher.