OLED is a next-generation display technology that is replacing LCD displays in several markets, such as small displays for mobile applications, TVs and microdisplays. OLEDs are made from thin films of organic light emitting materials that emit light when electricity is applied. OLEDs have a much simpler structure compared to LCDs and have several advantages over the incumbent technology.
OLED microdisplays vs LCoS microdisplays
OLED microdisplays provide several advantages over the current technology used to make most microdisplays (LCoS) :
- There's no need for an "external" illumination (or backlight)
- A larger color gamut
- Wide viewing angles
- Better contrast
- Faster refresh rate
- Lower power consumption (this depends on the image shown)
- Wide operation temperature range
OLEDs do have some disadvantages, though:
- Somewhat lower lifetime and burn-in
- Lower brightness (although this is improving to the point where OLED microdisplays are very bright)
- Limited suppliers, limited volume and selection, higher price, "immature" technology
Leading OLED Microdisplay makers
There are several OLED microdisplay makers today. The two leading ones seem to be eMagin and Sony. Sony makes several microdisplays for the consumer market - which are mostly adopted as camera EVFs. For example Sony's a7S full-frame mirrorless digital camera uses an XGA OLED EVF.
eMagin's main markets are the defense, industry and medical markets. They are enter the consumer market - aiming to provide better user experience for VR and AR headsets.
Besides eMagin and Sony, there are a several other microdisplays makers - from Europe, China and Korea.
OLED-Info's OLED Microdisplay Market Report
If you want more in-depth information on the OLED Microdisplay market, look no further! Our OLED Microdisplay Market Report explains:
- Why OLED microdisplays are better than LCD or DLP ones
- The disadvantages of OLED microdisplays
- What kind of displays are available on the market today
- New technologies on the horizon
The report package also provides a complete list of OLED microdisplay makers and their current (and future) products, and personal contact details into the leading microdisplay makers. Read more here!
The latest OLED microdisplays news:
China-based BOE Display has a very ambitious OLED project, and the company unveiled new flexible and automotive OLEDs at SID 2019.
BOE demonstrated several new automotive OLED technologies including a 12.3" flexible OLED display for the main instrument panel which employs a new pixel compensation circuit technology apparently developed by BOE, which can improve the brightness uniformity of the display.
OLED microdisplay maker eMagin reported its financial results for Q1 2019. Revenues were $6.1 million (down from $6.1 million in Q1 2018) and net loss was $1.4 million (down from $2.1 million in Q1 2018). At the end of the quarter, eMagin had $3.5 million in cash and equivalents (before its latest financing round).
Regarding its consumer business, eMagin updates that it successfully processed the first 4k x 4k wafers for its Tier-1 consumer electronics partner and has confirmed its ability to develop a large-area silicon OLED microdisplay with no visible non-uniformity. It plans to finalize the first full-color prototypes in Q3 2019.
The following is a guest article, by Assaf Levy-Beeri, Co-founder at Joya Team
MicroDisplays are used in a variety of applications. First introduced into the market in the 90s, microdisplays were used as an image source for Rear Projection TVs (RPTVs), projectors, viewfinders for digital cameras and Helmet Mounted Display systems (HMDs).
Today, while the demand for wearable products is increasing and the potential wearable market size is very high, microdisplay market is expected to grow dramatically. Augmented Reality (AR) and smart glasses, Helmet Mounted Displays , Virtual Reality (VR) systems and Head-Up Display (HUD) systems are the main applications where a high-resolution microdisplay is required. Correspondingly, the technology is improving all the time and microdisplays manufacturers make significant investments in order to improve their technology and products performances. In addition, new technologies and manufacturers enter this field.
The Fraunhofer FEP announced that it has developed a new OLED Microdisplay specifically for industrial industrial Augmented Reality (AR) data glasses.
The new microdisplay features a 720p (1280x720) resolution with a diagnoal size of 0.64-inch (subpixel size is 5.5 micron). The power consumption is 160 milliwatt at 120 fps. The Fraunhofer says that the new display features simple driving electronics for an easy integration into portable systems and is already available as evaluation kit.
OLED-Info's foldable, flexible, VR/AR, microdisplays, PMOLED, automotive and graphene OLED market reports updated to April 2019
Today we published new versions of our market reports - that cover the flexible, VR/AR, microdisplays, automotive, PMOLED and graphene OLED markets. OLED-Info provides comprehensive niche OLED market reports, and our reports cover everything you need to know about the niche market, and can be useful if you want to understand how the OLED industry works and what this technology can provide for your own industry. The reports are now updated to April 2019.
- Why flexible displays and lighting panels are so exciting
- What kind of flexible displays are currently on the market
- All about the foldable OLED market and industry
- What the future holds for flexible OLEDs
- How to acquire flexible OLEDs for your products
The report package provides a good introduction to the flexible and foldable OLED market - present and future. It details both flexible displays and lighting technologies. Read more here!
eMagin announces its financial results for Q4 2018, delivers OLED microdisplays for F35 helmet flight tests
OLED microdisplay maker eMagin reported its financial results for Q4 2018. While eMagin sees growing demand for its products and an increased backlog ($10.6 million as of the end of 2018), the company experienced a manufacturing equipment related issue in Q4 which resulted in lower yields and loss of production. Revenues were $5.4 million (down from $6.4 million in Q4 2017) and the net loss was $2.5 million.
Looking at the whole year of 2018, revenues were $26.2 million (up 19% from 2017) and net loss was $9.6 million. As of December 31, 2018, the Company had approximately $3.4 million of cash, cash equivalents.
In March 2017 OLED maker BOE Technology and OLED Microdisplay maker OLiGHTEK announced a new $170 million joint-venture to produce OLED microdisplays for the consumer VR and AR markets. US-based microdisplay-maker Kopin signed agreements with OLiGHTEK and with BOE's JV with OLiGHTEK for the production of its OLED microdisplays.
In August 2018 Korean ET News said that BOE is getting ready to start trial production in the new fab in early 2019. During Kopin's recent conference call, the company's CEO said that BOE's factory is "actually finished". All the equipment has been installed and the company is running first test runs and the first production samples should be produced in a few days, hopefully.
LetinAR adopts the Fraunhofer's FEP low-power OLED microdisplays in its new pinhole effect PinMR AR technology
The Fraunhofer FEP institute has teamed up with Korean-based LetinAR to develop an ultra-low-power OLED microdisplay based optic lens for AR applications. The Fraunhofer and LetinAR will present the new technology at MWC 2019.
LetinAR's PinMR technology uses the Pinhole Effect with tiny mirrors and embedded them with eyeglass lenses. The PinMR mirrors reflect the light generated by a microdisplay and guide it into the user's pupils. Users may view the virtual image created via microdisplay equipped with magnifying see-through optics as well as the image from the real world at ease. Human eyes cannot detect the mirrors, which are smaller than pupils. Only the virtual image formed by the light reflected by those mirrors is visible.
Universal Display announced an OLED evaluation agreement with China-based OLED Microdisplay producer Seeya Information Technology. UDC will supply Seeya with its phosphorescent OLED materials for display applications. The two companies did not disclose any more details.
In September 2017 Seeya announced plans to build an OLED microdisplay production line in Hefei, China. Seeya's fab will have a yearly capacity of 20 million displays, and will require an investment of almost $300 million USD.
Fuji Chimera Research Institute says that the global microdisplay market reached $161 million in 2018, with AMOLED taking up a market share of 27.8%. LCoS is still the leading technology with a market share of 59.7%.
Fuji Chimera expects the OLED microdisplay market to grow to $75 million by 2021 - a CAGR of 10.9%. The average unit price for an OLED microdisplay will reach $32 (35% higher than LCoS microdisplays).