CEA-Leti Develops CMOS Process for High-Performance MicroLEDs That Could Overcome Display-Size Obstacles

New Concept Creates All-in-One RGB MicroLEDs, Eliminates Several Transfer Steps to Receiving Substrate & Boosts Performance

GRENOBLE, France – May 14, 2019 – Leti, a research institute of CEA Tech, today announced a new technology for fabricating GaN microLED displays for applications ranging from smart watches to TVs with no size limit.

The approach fabricates elementary units of all-in-one red, green, blue (RGB) microLEDs on a CMOS driving circuit, and transfers the devices to a simple receiving substrate. The units are fabricated with a full semiconductor, wafer-scale approach.

“This new process, in the proof-of-concept stage, paves the way to commercial, high-performance microLED displays,” said François Templier, CEA-Leti’s strategic marketing manager for photonic devices. “The CMOS-based approach provides higher brightness and higher resolution microLEDs and is a game changer for very large TVs.”

While they promise exceptional image quality and better energy efficiency than existing liquid crystal display (LCD) and organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technologies, microLED displays currently face significant barriers on the road to commercialization.

One of the biggest challenges is improving the performance of the driving electronics, which require more power to deliver brighter images and more speed to support continuously increasing demands for high display resolution. Faster electronics are required to power millions of pixels in a fixed-frame time in microLED displays, but existing driving display technology, known as thin-film transistor (TFT) active matrix, cannot provide the necessary current and speed. 

CEA-Leti’s new approach fabricates CMOS-driven, high-performance GaN microLED displays with a simplified transfer process that eliminates the use of the TFT backplane. RGB microLEDs are stacked directly onto a micro-CMOS circuit, and each unit is transferred onto a simple receiving substrate. Then, the RGB microLEDs and the backplane are fabricated on a single semiconductor line.

In addition to increasing power and driving speed – and improving display performance – this process avoids several costly steps needed with current technology to make electrical and mechanical contacts between microLEDs and the receiving substrates.

CEA-Leti presented a paper on the breakthrough titled “A New Approach for Fabricating High-Performance MicroLED Displays” on May 14, during Display Week 2019 in San Jose, Calif.

The institute’s team is at booth 331.

About CEA-Leti (France)

Leti, a technology research institute at CEA Tech, is a global leader in miniaturization technologies enabling smart, energy-efficient and secure solutions for industry. Founded in 1967, Leti pioneers micro-& nanotechnologies, tailoring differentiating applicative solutions for global companies, SMEs and startups. CEA-Leti tackles critical challenges in healthcare, energy and digital migration. From sensors to data processing and computing solutions, CEA-Leti’s multidisciplinary teams deliver solid expertise, leveraging world-class pre-industrialization facilities. With a staff of more than 1,900, a portfolio of 2,700 patents, 91,500 sq. ft. of cleanroom space and a clear IP policy, the institute is based in Grenoble, France, and has offices in Silicon Valley and Tokyo. CEA-Leti has launched 60 startups and is a member of the Carnot Institutes network. This year, the institute celebrates its 50th anniversary. Follow us on www.leti-cea.com and @CEA_Leti.

CEA Tech is the technology research branch of the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), a key player in innovative R&D, defence & security, nuclear energy, technological research for industry and fundamental science, identified by Thomson Reuters as the second most innovative research organization in the world. CEA Tech leverages a unique innovation-driven culture and unrivalled expertise to develop and disseminate new technologies for industry, helping to create high-end products and provide a competitive edge.

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