Samsung Display is acquiring US display manufacturer eMagin for $218 million. The acquisition is expected to close in the second half of 2023. eMagin has customers in the consumer electronics, industrial, medical and defense sectors; last year the company turned over 30.5 million US dollars.
The company recently announced a new micro-OLED with 1920 x 1200 pixels (WUXGA resolution) and a luminance of 15,000 cd/m2. eMagin achieves the higher luminance by printing the red, green and blue luminescent layers side by side on the substrate, eliminating the need for light-absorbing color filters. The sub-pixels are between 5 and 10 micrometers in size and have a pixel density of almost 3000 dpi. For comparison: A good smartphone has about 500 dpi.
eMagin applies the adjacent RGB OLED emitters in its own patented printing process, the Direct Patterned Display (dPd), which does not require fine metal masks (FMM). Color filters are then no longer needed.
Samsung’s President Joo Sun Choi sees the potential for the tiny organic displays primarily in applications for mixed reality, so-called MR displays. The great advantage of micro-OLEDs is their high pixel density of several thousand dpi with very low energy requirements at the same time. The small displays are therefore recommended for AR/MR glasses and VR glasses, where you would quickly notice the pixel structure due to the closeness to the eye. At the same time, you need a system that is as light as possible, i.e. above all small batteries, which is possible thanks to the low power consumption of the micro-OLEDs.
OLED vs. LED
The tiny OLEDs are in competition with the inorganic variant, the displays made of micro-LEDs. However, micro-OLEDs have been mass-produced for years, while micro- and nano-LEDs are still in development. In particular, their transfer to a carrier substrate and driver integration have so far posed problems.
In eMagin’s tiny OLEDs, the RGB subpixels sit side by side in a rectangular structure on the chip. For OLEDs in smartphones, Samsung places the subpixels in the special diamond structure with offset color areas.
By taking over eMagin, Samsung is getting ahead of Apple, among others: Apple is working on its own micro-LED production for MR displays and supposedly wants to introduce a headset this year. With the micro-OLEDs from eMagin, the Korean Samsung group can now produce MR products itself very quickly; According to industry information, Samsung Electronics is already developing such an AR/VR headset. (uk)
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