microLED, also known as micro-LED, mLED or µLED, is an emerging flat-panel display technology. microLED displays consist of arrays of microscopic LEDs forming the individual pixel elements. When compared with widespread LCD technology, microLED displays offer better contrast, response times, and energy efficiency.
Along with OLEDs, microLEDs are primarily aimed at small, low-energy devices such as smartwatches and smartphones. OLED and microLED both offer greatly reduced energy requirements when compared to conventional LCD systems while also offering an infinite contrast ratio. Unlike OLED, microLED is based on conventional gallium nitride (GaN) LED technology, which offers far higher total brightness than OLED produces, as much as 30 times, as well as higher efficiency in terms of lux/W and thus lower power consumption than OLED. OLED also suffers from screen burn-in, while microLED does not.
As of 2019[update], microLED displays have not been mass-produced, though Sony, Samsung and Konka, sell microLED video walls, and Luumii mass produces microLED lighting. LG, Tianma, PlayNitride, TCL/CSoT, Jade Bird Display and Plessey Semiconductors Ltd have demonstrated prototypes. Sony already sells microLED displays as a replacement for conventional cinema screens. BOE, Epistar and Leyard have plans for microLED mass production.  MicroLEDs can be made flexible and transparent, just like OLEDs. 
Inorganic semiconductor microLED (µLED) technology was first invented in 2000 by the research group of Hongxing Jiang and Jingyu Lin of Texas Tech University while they were at Kansas State University. Following their first report of electrical injection microLEDs based on indium gallium nitride (InGaN) semiconductors, several groups have quickly engaged in pursuing this concept. Many related potential applications have been identified. Various on-chip connection schemes of microLED pixel arrays have been employed allowing for the development of single-chip high voltage DC/AC-LEDs to address the compatibility issue between the high voltage electrical infrastructure and low voltage operation nature of LEDs and high brightness self-emissive microdisplays.
Early InGaN based microLED arrays and microdisplays were primarily passively driven. The first actively driven video-capable self-emissive InGaN microLED microdisplay in VGA format (640 x 480 pixels, each 12 microns in size with 15 microns between them) possessing low voltage requirements was realized in 2011 via a hybrid complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) and integrated circuit (IC) hybrid assembly.
The first microLED products were demonstrated by Sony in 2012. These displays, however, were very expensive.
There are several methods to manufacture microLED displays. The flip-chip method manufactures the LED on a conventional sapphire substrate, while the transistor array and solder bumps are deposited on silicon wafers using conventional manufacturing and metallization processes. Mass transfer is used to pick and place several thousand LEDs from one wafer to another at the same time, and the LEDs are bonded to the silicon substrate using reflow ovens. The flip-chip method is used for micro displays used on virtual reality headsets. The drawbacks include cost, limited pixel size, limited placement accuracy and the need for cooling to prevent the display from warping and breaking due to thermal mismatch between the LEDs and the silicon. Also, current microLED displays are less efficient than comparable OLED displays. Another microLED manufacturing method involves bonding the LEDs to an IC layer on a silicon substrate and then removing the LED bonding material using conventional semiconductor manufacturing techniques. The current bottleneck in the maufacturing process is the need to individually test every LED and replace faulty ones using an excimer laser lift-off apparatus, which uses a laser to weaken the bond between the LED and its substrate. Faulty LED replacement must be performed using high accuracy pick-and-place machines. This test and repair process takes several hours. The mass transfer process alone can take 18 days, for a smartphone screen with a glass substrate. Special LED manufacturing techniques can be used to increase yield and reduce the amount of faulty LEDs that need to be replaced. Each LED can be as small as 5 microns across. LED expitaxy techiques need to be improved to increase yields.
Excimer lasers are used for several steps: laser lift-off to separate LEDs from their sapphire substrate and to remove faulty LEDs, for manufacturing the LTPS TFT backplane, and for laser cutting of the finished LEDs. Special mass transfer techniques using elastomer stamps are also being researched. Other companies are exploring the possibility of packaging 3 LEDs: one red, one green and one blue LED into a single package to reduce mass transfer costs. 
Quantum dots are being researched as a way to shrink the size of microLED pixels, while other companies are exploring the use of phosphors and quantum dots to eliminate the need for different-colored LEDs. Sensors can be embedded in microLED displays.
Current microLED display offerings by Samsung and Sony consist of "cabinets" that can be assembled to create a large display of any size, with the display's resolution increasing with size. They also contain mechanisms to protect the display against water and dust. Each cabinet has a resolution of 960x540.
microLEDs are considered to have innate potential performance advantages over LCD displays, including lower latency, higher contrast ratio, and greater color saturation, plus intrinsic self-illumination and better efficiency. As of 2016, technological and production barriers have prevented commercialization.
As of 2016 a number of different technologies were under active research for the assembling of individual (pixel, or pixel group) LEDs on a substrate. These include chip bonding of microLED chips onto a substrate, considered to have potential for large displays; wafer production methods using etching to produce an LED array followed by bonding to an IC ; and wafer production methods using an intermediate temporary thin film to transfer the LED array to a substrate.
Sony launched a 55 inch "Crystal LED Display" in 2012 with 1920x1080 resolution, as a demonstrator product. Sony announced its CLEDIS (Crystal LED Integrated Structure) brand which used surface mounted LEDs for large display production. As of August 2019, Sony offers CLEDIS in 146", 182" and 219" displays. On September 12, 2019, Sony announced Crystal LED availability to consumers ranging from 1080p 110" to 16K 790" displays.
Samsung demonstrated a 146" microLED display called The Wall at CES 2018. In July 2018, Samsung announced plans on bringing a 4K microLED TV to consumer market in 2019. At CES 2019, Samsung demonstrated a 75" 4K microLED display and 219" 6K microLED display. On June 12 at InfoComm 2019, Samsung announced the global launch of The Wall Luxury microLED display configurable from 73” in 2K to 292” in 8K. On October 4, 2019, Samsung announced that the The Wall Luxury microLED display shipments had begun.
In March 2018, Bloomberg reported Apple to have about 300 engineers devoted to in-house development of microLED screens. At IFA 2018 in August, LG Display demonstrated 173" microLED display.
At SID's Display Week 2019 in May, Tianma and PlayNitride demonstrated their co-developed 7.56” microLED display with over 60% transparency. China Star Optoelectronics Technology (CSoT) demonstrated a 3.3" transparent microLED display with around 45% transparency, also co-developed with PlayNitride. Plessey Semiconductors Ltd demonstrated a GaN-on-silicon wafer to CMOS backplane wafer bonded native blue monochrome 0.7" active-matrix microLED display with an 8-micron pixel pitch.
On August 15, 2019, Luumii, a joint venture between Rohinni LLC and KoJa (Cayman) Co. Ltd., announced mass production of their micro and miniLED-based solutions for notebook computer keyboard backlights and logo lighting. Luumii's production output at their Suzhou manufacturing facility is currently 40,000 units per month and is targeting 100,000 units per month by the end of the year.
At Touch Taiwan 2019 on September 4, 2019, AU Optronics demonstrated a 12.1-inch microLED display and indicated that microLED was 1–2 years from mass commercialization. At IFA 2019 on September 13, 2019, TCL Corporation demonstrated their Cinema Wall featuring a 4K 132-inch microLED display with maximum brightness of 1,500 nits and 2,500,000:1 contrast ratio produced by their subsidiary China Star Optoelectronics Technology (CSoT).
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