Epistar chairman Lee Biing-Jye reported that the company is set to fabricate mini LED chips for TV backlighting and smartphones, according to a DigiTimes article. Furthermore, he said that the company expects mini LEDs to help drive its growth in 2018. Lee pointed out that unlike micro LEDs that still face technological challenges, mini-LEDs can already be fabricated with some existing high-end MOCVD systems.
Lee also noted in the article that, Epistar has spoken with TFT-LCD panel manufacturers AU Optronics (AUO) and Innolux about using mini LED chips for TV backlighting. Epistar predicts that in 2018, flagship mini LED-backlit LCD TVs will be launched in small volumes. For smartphone backlighting with mini LEDs, Epistar is targeting China-based smartphone vendors.
Mini LEDs Add Thickness to BLUs
While, mini LED backlight units (BLU) will increase LCD TV thickness by about 3mm, Lee insists that this is not a big problem.
However, in smartphones and tablets, the thickness will be an important concern, and the company will have to address it with vendors, Lee indicated. Epistar hopes to devise solutions for the thickness issue by the end of 2017 at the earliest.
LEE estimated that a mini LED BLU for a 55-inch LCD TV requires about 40,000 mini LED chips, and a smartphone needs about 9,000.
He does not expect much competition in mini LEDs for some time. LEE asserts that of the approximately 5000 MOCVD systems in operation around the world, only about 200 can produce mini LED chips.