[SR Talks] ⑧ Interview with a Micro LED Display Expert at Samsung R&D Institute Japan-Yokohama

Q: Please briefly introduce yourself, Samsung R&D Institute Japan-Yokohama, and the kind of work that goes on there. What projects are you working on?

I am Junichi Yamashita, in charge of developing Micro LED display technology at Samsung R&D Institute Japan-Yokohama (SRJ-Y). SRJ-Y was established in Yokohama, Japan, in 1997 and has been focusing on Japan’s strongest specialties, such as next-generation Flat Panel Display (FPD) technology, FPD materials, image processing technology, new battery materials, and robotics technology. SRJ-Y executes our cutting-edge technologies in cooperation with Samsung Headquarters (Samsung Electronics, Samsung Research, and other Samsung companies). Our deliverables have been adopted by Samsung global products and contribute to their technological advances.

I am a project leader for Micro LED display driving technology. I joined SRJ-Y in 2018, and I am currently working on the pixel driving circuit of Micro LED and the image quality correction algorithm. In addition, since 2021, I have been leading the Micro LED display development team, which develops various Micro LED display technologies (driving, process, and device technology).
Our team has varied expertise in FPD devices, manufacturing processes, and materials. In addition, there are many suppliers of FPD materials and manufacturing equipment in Japan. Developing Micro LED displays is really challenging, and we must explore an unknown world to realize them. Our knowledge, experience, and abundance of suppliers in Japan helps us achieve innovative technologies.

Q: Please tell me about the importance of your field of research or technology.

Micro LED displays are composed of an enormous number of micrometer RGB LEDs and their driving substrate. Because LED is a light-emitting device, higher brightness and color gamut can be realized. In addition, LED does not need a sealed structure, resulting in a larger size using tiling technology. These characteristics provide a realistic feeling, even in living rooms, and give us an immersive experience. Furthermore, Micro LED displays are also suitable for transparent and flexible displays because of their small size and inorganic material. These new features allow us to use windows as a sort of display or free-form display. These brand-new experiences will change our lifestyle.

However, Micro LED displays must control tens of millions of Micro LEDs at the same time. It is so difficult to achieve uniformity in the brightness and color of these LEDs, and this led us to develop a new driving pixel circuit to achieve high uniformity.

Q: Can you tell us about the main achievement and most rewarding moment in your research?

To achieve high uniformity of Micro LED displays, we developed a new pixel circuit using Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis (SPICE) Simulation, which we hope to be adopted on Micro LED TV and contribute significantly to its mass production. We believe the development of this new pixel circuit, using SPICE Simulation, is our strength.
With the invented pixel circuit to realize high uniformity, we verified the circuit operation by simulating the element and then designed the circuit element. Then, we tried the overall pixel circuit simulation to verify actual FPD image quality, but it required quite a long period and was impractical. To solve this inefficiency, we developed a new simulation model to replicate the overall pixel simulation approximately, and this enabled us to verify the image quality within a short time and realize high uniformity.

The development of Micro LED displays is full of challenges, and we are doing our best to overcome them. It is a highly valuable opportunity, and it is rewarding to be in charge of cutting-edge technology such as the Micro LED display. Ultimately, we believe these experiences will enhance our research capability.

Q: What is your vision for the future, and what goal would you want to achieve?

Our vision is to provide users with a whole new and differentiated experience and make them say, “Wow! That’s amazing.” To do that, optimum characteristics such as higher brightness, deeper color, larger size, and faster response time than traditional FPDs are required. Moreover, new features such as transparent, 3D flexible, and stretchable displays are also needed.
Micro LED displays have all of these characteristics and features. We would like to develop novel technologies for a new and different experience and contribute to keeping our leading position in the global TV market.