MICLEDI Microdisplays is a fabless developer of microLED displays for the Augmented Reality (AR) market. MICLEDI’s technology is based on an innovative combination of III/V materials processing, 3D integration, and 300mm Si-based processing combined with a proprietary ASIC to provide a self-contained, compact monolithic AR display with high image quality and power efficiency. During an interaction with Nitisha; Harold Blomquist, VP of Business Development, MICLEDI Microdisplays elaborates MicroLEDs and it’s future demands. He also shares his investment strategies.
MICLEDI launched in 2019 and in 2022 signed an agreement with GlobalFoundries. Kindly elaborate on the journey.
MICLEDI was spun out of IMEC in 2019 after several of the most significant OEMs in the Augmented Reality space approached them to develop microLED products for them. Their requests were of a similar nature and based on foundational development work done by IMEC. Since product manufacturing and marketing is not IMEC’s main focus they created MICLEDI for this purpose. IMEC carved out the knowhow to enable MICLEDI to build up for successful entry into the AR market. Global Foundries has an interest in, and publicly announced relationships in the AR space. With this area of common interest between MICLEDI and GF, and with both companies having experience working with IMEC, it was almost natural for them to begin exploring a potential partnership to put MICLEDI’s mass production products into one of GF’s fabs. The announcements about this relationship are the result of a lengthy evaluation and selection process. MICLEDI is pleased to have GF as the company’s manufacturing partner.
There are a number of companies that manufacture AR/VR products, how do you look into this competitive market?
Early market entrants into the AR glasses product market include the Tier 1 OEMs mentioned above and many other Tier 1 and Tier 2 firms in all of the major world geographies including the US, China, Japan, Southeast Asia and Europe. MICLEDI is a supplier of a key part of the topology of an AR glasses system which includes several different ICs and display components. The part of AR glasses that MICLEDI is developing is the light, or image emitter module, more commonly called the display module. There are existing display technologies like LCOS, OLED and microLEDs. MicroLEDs are the only display module that has the necessary brightness to provide a high-quality image on the glass that can be seen against the brightness of outdoor sunlight. Some of the biggest challenges for suppliers of microLEDs is size, power and cost, each of which are critical in a wearable device such as personal eyewear. What sets MICLEDI apart from other microLED displays suppliers is that our microLEDs and backplane controller ICs have been designed to be manufactured in the world’s most advanced process flows using all of the advances in 300mm manufacturing. The result is that MICLEDI’s display modules will be the smallest, lightest, brightest, lowest power, and highest resolution microLED modules in the world, made in high yielding, low cost 300mm mass production wafer fabs by GF.
Kindly talk about MICLEDI and its special offerings.
MICLEDI’s displays benefit from process control parameters that are superior to anything available in the microLED market today, allowing more efficient microLED designs. Another unique feature of our displays is that each pixel will have a unique lens to focus the emitted light to provide greater brightness within the designed apex angle. The lens on each color, RGB, will be optimized for the wavelengths of each color. The lenses can be tuned, or aimed, in such a way that it will facilitate improved image quality through the optics of AR glasses.
Which industry do you cater to the most and key strategies to expand/focus in coming years?
MICLEDI is specifically focused on microLEDs for the Augmented Reality glasses market. The company’s product and technology roadmap aims to make our display modules smaller, lighter, and lower power. This will enable glasses makers to offer their products with compelling features and attractive costs opening the door for consumer AR glasses to become mainstream as the digital display interface for consumers carrying portable devices, such as smartphones, in their pockets or purses. In addition to smaller, brighter, and lower power monochrome arrays, MICLEDI’s future product and development roadmap will include full RGB pixels in a single microLED array to further simplify design of AR glasses and enhance cost, weight, and power specs.
Is there any new development or collaboration you are planning?
MICLEDI is in conversation with a variety of potential partners. These developments are confidential at this time and cannot be disclosed.
Talk about your investment plans and what kind of investor you are searching for your company?
MICLEDI is a privately held, VC-funded company. The company plans to raise additional venture capital to fund commercialization and product line expansion in the future. The company anticipates traditional venture funding sources including VCs and strategic investors. MICLEDI is well supported by its current investors who are expected to continue to support the company in future investment rounds.