Earlier today Patently Apple discovered a published European Apple patent application relating to Micro-LED displays. Out of the 12 engineers who are listed as the inventors of this invention, only one is from LuxVue, the Micro-LED specialist company that Apple acquired in May 2014.
Interestingly Apple's patent also lists two engineers who came to Apple via AUO that specializes in TV panels as well as the former chief engineer from Panasonic that is known for their HD TVs.
Apple's patent overview notes that "State of the art displays for phones, tablets, computers, and televisions utilize glass substrates with thin film transistor (TFfs) to control transmission of backlight though pixels based on liquid crystals. More recently emissive displays such as those based on organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs) have been introduced as being more power efficient, and allowing each pixel to be turned off completely when displaying black.
Even more recently, it has been proposed to incorporate emissive inorganic semiconductor-based micro LEDs into high resolution displays. Compared to OLEDs, inorganic semiconductor-based micro LEDs may be more energy efficient and also may not be prone to lifetime degradation and extreme sensitivity to moisture.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 below is a perspective view of a microdriver chip; FIG. 11 is a schematic cross-sectional side view illustration of a microdriver chip over a display substrate; and FIG. 12 is a schematic cross-sectional side view illustration of a microdriver chip bonded to a display substrate.
Apple's micro-LED patent is a technical utility patent that provides no cuddly descriptions that explain the patent in terms of an end product with benefits. It's a technical patent written by engineers that makes for dry reading.
If you're an engineer, and in the field of displays, I'm sure this will be an interesting read for you. Below you will find a Scribd document covering the "description" part of Apple's patent that Patently Apple discovered in the European Patent office database today.
The term "microdriver chip" is referenced 92 times, making it the focal point of the invention.
Apple's European patent application was originally filed back in Q4 2017 and published in Europe on Wednesday October 10 2018. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.
Some of the Apple Engineers / Inventors Listed on the Patent
Sandy (Hsin-Hua) Hu: microLED, MEMS, III-V & Silicon integration pioneer – Has been with Apple since the LuxVue acquisition in 2014. She was VP of Micro Device Technology at LuxVue; Hairong Tang: Sr. Panel Process Engineer, came to Apple from Qualcomm; Wei-Liang Hsu: Display Exploration Engineer; Sandeep Chalasani: Panel Design Engineer, came to Apple from Qualcomm; Shinya Ono: Panel Development Manager, came to Apple from Panasonic; Huang Jung Yen: Manager, came to Apple from AUO; Lun Tsai: Manager, came to Apple from AUO; Sung Kang: Product Engineering Manager; Ion Bita: Hardware Engineer, came to Apple from Qualcomm.
Other Patently Apple Patent Reports
01: A Euro Patent Reveals Apple is working on an 8K Foveated Micro-Display for a Head-up Display, iDevice and beyond
02: Apple Patent Found in Europe Details work on Future Product Displays using micro-LEDs with Quantum Dot Technology
03: Apple's Patent Reveals Micro-LED based 'Smart-Pixel' Technology for Possible Future iMacs, iPhone & TV
04: Future Foldable iPhone may use a micro-LED Display and Liquid Metal as a Shape Memory Alloy
05: Apple Invents a Laser that cuts Micro Slots in OLED or Micro-LED Displays to Create Foldable Displays
General Patently Apple reports on micro-LED
01: The Discovery of Apple's Secret Micro-LED Display Testing Plant in California Rattles Display Maker Stocks in Asia
02: Apple Outguns Samsung and LG in Filing micro-LED Patents in South Korea
03: Apple Supplier Foxconn Invests Deeper into Micro LED Display Technology
04: Apple Working with TSMC on Tough Phase of Next-Gen Micro-LED Displays
05: Supply Chain Rumor Claims Apple is working to deliver a Micro-LED Display for Apple Watch & Smartglasses for 2019
And lastly, another interesting micro-LED report was posted by C/Net in March 2018 titled "MicroLED is the first new screen tech in a decade. Can it beat OLED?"
Patently Apple presents a detailed summary of patent applications and/or granted patents with associated graphics for journalistic news purposes as each such patent application is revealed by the U.S. Patent & Trade Office. Readers are cautioned that the full text of any patent application should be read in its entirety for full and accurate details.