Micro LEDs have the advantages of high resolution, flexibility, and foldability. They are the focus of the development of next-generation display technology. AR smart glasses have driven the explosion of demand for Micro LEDs.
Micro LEDs with the advantages of high resolution, flexibility, and foldability are the focus of the development of next-generation display technology, and it is also the key for panel manufacturers and LED manufacturers to compete for new technology investment layout.
According to the latest Micro LED report by TrendForce, among many Micro LED display applications, Micro LED displays will be a new high-end product following the development of large-scale displays. It is estimated that the output value of Micro LED in AR smart glasses display chips will be 41 million by 2026. Dollar.
According to TrendForce analysis, the reason for the significant growth in output value in just one year from 2025 to 2026 is mainly due to the gradual maturity of technologies such as red-light chips, laser transfer, wafer bonding and full-colorization, which can improve yield and reduce production costs. caused by growth.
TrendForce said that due to the bottleneck of full-color technology, the current status of Micro LED AR smart glasses is dominated by monochrome display, which can only display basic display information functions, including information prompts, navigation, translation, and teleprompter, etc. In the future, full-color display after the technology is mature, it will first be applied in special fields such as medical surgery or testing instruments, environmental monitoring or maintenance tools in factories, military applications, etc. When the technology is further advanced and the cost price is reduced to the stage of commercialization, it will have the opportunity to be used in consumption.
TrendForce said that the ideal display of transmissive smart glasses must meet the following three conditions. Firstly, in terms of volume control, in order to reduce the wearing burden of glasses as much as possible, the size of the corresponding display light engine is about 1 inch or less. Secondly, in terms of content recognition requirements, the brightness specification of the display must be at least 4,000 nits to ensure that it is not affected by external environments such as weather or venues; finally, the resolution must be at least 3,000 PPI or above, so that the projection can be enlarged. The picture can be read clearly.
However, there are not many technologies that can simultaneously meet the above-mentioned stringent requirements of micro displays. The most popular ones are Micro LED and Micro OLED, both of which are self-illuminating technologies. However, Micro LED is currently in the early stage of AR application technology development, and challenges remain unaddressed. Due to the sharp increase in the demand for resolution, the increase in pixels will inevitably lead to the shrinking of the chip at the same time. When the size of the Micro LED needs to be reduced to at least 5um or less, the wavelength uniformity problem of the epitaxial process will affect the yield.
Secondly, the smaller chip also brings the problem of the external quantum efficiency (EQE) of the red-light chip to the surface, which in turn affects the luminous efficiency of full-color, and will face the challenge of only being able to display a single color. Thirdly, although the problem of full color can be overcome by combining blue-light chips with quantum dot technology, there are still many technical bottlenecks to be overcome in the application of quantum dot technology in the Micro LED process at this stage.
Fourthly, when the Micro LED chip and the CMOS backplane are connected by wafer, if the RGB chip is transferred to the backplane by the laser transfer method, when the energy control of the laser transfer area is not uniform, it will affect the Micro LED wafer transfer yield. At last, how to quickly detect the electrical and optical properties of the Micro LED display light engine on the backplane, as well as repair and test the dead pixels, are also key factors affecting the process and cost.
In recent years, Micro LED, which has been regarded as the next-generation display technology, may continue to be introduced into AR smart glasses as the technology continues to improve. Whether Micro LED has the opportunity to replace Micro OLED in the future has continued to attract attention in the industry in recent years.
TrendForce said that although there are still many obstacles to be overcome in the application of Micro LED in AR smart glasses, and the development of full-color technology and mass production schedule is relatively behind Micro OLED, but Micro LED has many advantages in contrast, reactivity, lifespan, power saving, etc. It is still better than Micro OLED in terms of specifications and performance. Considering that the light efficiency of transmissive AR smart glasses is difficult to break through the 1% limit due to the limitation of optical waveguide component technology, Micro LED is still an excellent light for micro displays in the medium and long term.
According to the latest research report of TrendForce, since 2021, more than 10 brand manufacturers around the world have launched Micro LED transmissive AR smart glasses concept machines, and related suppliers have been improving Micro LED technology and accelerating the expansion of factories to cope with the follow-up volume. According to the production plan, the annual compound growth rate of Micro LED chips from 2023 to 2026 will be about 704%.
TrendForce said that with the continuous progress of Micro LED light engine and optical technology and the layout of new brand products, there will be opportunities to accelerate the birth of commercial products of Micro LED transmissive AR smart glasses. When the technology and cost are in place, there will be more opportunities extend from military, medical, aviation, industrial and other application fields to commercial and consumer comprehensive applications.