The Future of Display: An Interview with Reza Chaji, CEO & Founder of VueReal

The Future of Display

VueReal is a rapidly emerging company that has developed a novel transfer technology for the cost-efficient manufacture of MicroLED displays and other micro semi-products at scale. The company’s eco-friendly MicroSolid Printing™ platform utilizes a micro-pixel manufacturing process that addresses the top challenge in mass microLED display adoption – the efficient transfer of LEDs from wafer to backplane. VueReal is currently producing high-performance displays for four top auto OEMs from its Canadian facility. It is also licensing its solution to aerospace and consumer electronics firms through a ‘blueprint’ capability that facilitates seamless integration into existing technologies and processes. This offering is democratizing production of microLED displays – enabling a cost-effective transition to microLED with low CapEx.  In this interview with TechBullion, Reza Chaji, CEO & Founder of VueReal,  offers more insights into the platform.

Please tell us more about yourself.

I am Dr. Reza Chaji, the Co-Founder and CEO of VueReal, headquartered in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. With a comprehensive understanding of various aspects of flat-panel devices, encompassing displays and sensors, I actively contribute to designing and developing display and sensor drivers, system architecture, optics, thin film device fabrication, and characterizations. My focus extends to formulating display driving algorithms, imaging algorithms, biosensors, and overall system development.

My professional journey includes holding pivotal roles in both industrial and academic research and development, culminating in publishing over 70 papers and filing more than 200 patents. I earned my Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Waterloo, where my research concentrated on designing and implementing large-area electronic systems for AMOLED displays, biomedical imagers, and bio-array sensors.

I have been honored with prestigious scholarships and awards, such as the EY Young Alumni Achievement Medal from the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Waterloo in 2012, the CMC Douglas R. Colton Medal for Research Excellence in 2009, and the Strategic Microelectronics Council of ITAC Industrial Collaboration Award in 2007. Notably, I was a finalist for the 2023 Entrepreneur of the Year award by EY. I take pride in VueReal being honored as one of the Top 50 Companies to Watch in 2023 by Deloitte Canada’s Technology Fast 50 program.

What is VueReal? Can you provide an overview of the technology and your unique products?

VueReal, the pioneer in MicroSolid Printing technology, is driving advancements in next-generation MicroLED and micro semiconductor products.

The company’s MicroSolid Printing™ platform leverages an eco-friendly micro-pixel manufacturing process, enabling the seamless transfer of MicroLEDs and a range of micro-semiconductor devices—MicroSensors, MicroChiplets, and MicroSolar—efficiently, sustainably, and at scale. 

The platform addresses the foremost challenge in the mass adoption of MicroLED displays—the efficient transfer of LEDs from wafer to backplane. VueReal’s patented process transforms millions of micrometer-sized LEDs with unparalleled efficiency, scalability, and high yield. Overcoming challenges inherent in other transfer solutions like laser and pick-and-place, VueReal is defying industry projections to make the mass production of MicroLED displays a tangible reality today. 

With MicroLED displays for automotive already in production—VueReal is well-positioned to revolutionize visual experiences in automotive, wearables, smartphones, AR/VR, and lighting while catapulting the MicroLED display market to $30b by 2029.

VueReal’s approach incorporates the principles of software development into hardware, empowering customers to cost-effectively manufacture innovative next-gen display and sensor products anywhere in the world. 

Our products include:

Fully Inspected RGB MicroLED Cartridges

Currently, VueReal is  designing and shipping fully inspected and binned MicroLED cartridges based on each company’s application requirements (all sizes and shapes). Our cartridges enable high throughput and high yield production of MicroLED displays using current transfer (e.g., pick and place) tools and bonding technology (e.g., thermal compression, eutectic, adhesive).

Our industry-leading high-efficiency uLEDs, along with our pre-inspected RGB cartridge solution, can be used with current transfer tools to reduce the need for costly repair processes and allow the printing of RGB uLEDs simultaneously.

Our MicroLED cartridge solution can significantly reduce the cost and throughput of MicroLED display fabrication. We can also make fully inspected cartridges based on each company’s specific devices.

Fully Integrated Process

VueReal’s MicroSolid Printing™ platform is available for the development of many different products. For instance, VueReal VUE 182 MicroSolid Colour ReversePrinting along with VUE 182 MicroVUE Colour ReverseCartridge Inspection leads to an almost >10 times reduction in the repair cost/time and >3 times improvement in throughput. 

Moreover, the solution is compatible with large area substrates (>Gen 4.5) and <10um MicroLEDs, addressing the high volume production requirements and material availability for scaling applications such as smartphones and monolithic TVs. Our proprietary printing platform, combined with our patented cartridge structure, enables low-cost, high-yield “true printing” of MicroLED for different applications (wearables, smartphones, TVs, automotive, and tablets).

Custom Displays

VueReal helps its customers design, develop, and fabricate custom display products. Our world-class display team and in-depth product experience, combined with our in-house fabrication capabilities, create significant advantages for our customers. 

What is the significant impact of this technology on sectors such as automotive, wearables, smartphones, and AR/VR? 

Auto manufacturers and consumer electronics giants want cutting-edge displays that redefine the future of their products, be it electric vehicles, smartwatches, smartphones, or immersive AR/VR devices. These displays, especially game-changing MicroLED technology, aren’t just enhancements – they’re the key to gaining a sustainable competitive advantage.

MicroLED, positioned as the next OLED, isn’t just a technological leap; it’s a gateway to a massive $180 billion display market transformation. However, the bottleneck to widespread MicroLED adoption is the seamless transition of LEDs from wafer to backplane. Traditional methods like laser and pick-and-place are stumbling blocks, proving inefficient and unscalable and raising sustainability concerns.

The industry needs a scalable, eco-friendly revolution that overcomes yield, throughput, performance, and cost challenges. This isn’t just about advancing MicroLED displays; it’s about propelling the entire realm of microdevice applications, including groundbreaking microSensors, into a new era of industry dominance.

As the pioneer in MicroSolid Printing technology, VueReal is driving advancements in next-generation MicroLED and micro semi products.

Please give us more insight into the current state of the MicroLED display market and what role VueReal is playing in driving this market toward a projected $30 billion valuation by 2029.

MicroLED is widely viewed as the next-generation display technology, with superior characteristics such as ultra-high brightness, nanosecond response time, low power consumption, high color reproduction, longer lifespan, and wide view angle. 

MicroLED displays provide transparency, seamless connections, sensor integration, and an extended lifetime–and can offer the same perfect black as OLEDs, but without the danger of burn-in and higher brightness than any other display technology. Additionally, MicroLED uses minuscule LEDs to create the subpixels in a display, eliminating the need for organic materials. Many fascinating displays cannot be realized with traditional display technologies and can become reality with microLED.

Importantly, MicroLED displays provide superior environmental benefits over OLED:

  • MicroLED fabs use 30%~200% less water, power, and materials and produce significantly lower toxic materials
  • 50% to 200% lower power consumption

The market is well-positioned to reach $30B by 2029—with the right transfer technology that overcomes the limitations of existing solutions like laser and pick-and-place. The number one challenge to the mass adoption of microLED displays has been the absence of a production-ready process capable of swiftly and reliably transferring microLEDs from the wafer to the backplane. MicroSolid Printing is the solution.  

Four key challenges must be addressed to seize this market potential, and MicroSolid Printing addresses each of them:

1) Cost: Cost is a significant obstacle to the widespread adoption of MicroLED displays and other microdevice innovations. Transfer solutions directly affect capital expenditure, operation cost, and material cost. While tool complexity and price impact the Cap Ex, the yield and throughput can impact the OpEx and material cost. In addition, the wafer utilization efficiency impacted by transfer solutions contributes to the material cost. Transfer solutions that can facilitate hundreds of millions of displays annually must seamlessly integrate with existing fabrication, display tools, and processes to enable the transition to MicroLED and micro semi device products with minimal CapEx.

2) Yield: Yield, the percentage of MicroLEDS successfully transferred and functional on a final display, is challenging with traditional transfer solutions like pick-and-place and those prone to defects like laser. Next-gen transfer solutions must be able to quickly transfer millions of micropixel devices onto a surface with high yield and near 0 defects.

3) Throughput: High-quality MicroLED and micro semi device solutions require the seamless transfer of millions of MicroLED chips from their growth substrates to final display backplanes with high efficiency, accuracy, and reliability. Traditional methods are ineffective or impractical when dealing with the substantial volume of MicroLED or micro semi devices.

4) Performance: Achieving uniformity in wafers is a significant challenge in scaling MicroLED display and micro semi device production. Traditional solutions struggle to overcome wafer non-uniformity, resulting in sub-optimal wafer utilization, typically under 50%. Next-gen transfer solutions should deliver more significant than 80% utilization and make most wafer areas useful in production.

As a result of market challenges with pick and place and laser, the number of displays currently being sold is small, with high manufacturing costs and low production capacity, limiting the use of MicroLEDs in most markets. A novel method is needed to address yield, throughput, performance, and cost transfer challenges. Without advances in transfer—progress in other areas like device and backplane innovations encounter unit cost/performance barriers. 

What are the specific advantages of MicroSolid Printing over other solutions like laser and pick-and place? 

MicroSolid Printing advantages over other solutions include the following:

  • Exceptional visual quality, energy efficiency, tunable transparency (80% to zero), and versatile applications. 
  • High yield (99.999%)
  • 2-5 times higher throughput
  • Tens of millions of individual micro-LEDs can be placed into precise locations quickly, facilitating the mass integration of other microdevices.
  • 2-5 times more economical due to LED pitch and wafer utilization improvements
  • Reduction of wafers by up to 10 times, lowering toolset requirements
  • Wafer uniformity, enabling the use of all wafers with 80% wafer utilization compared to under 50% for other solutions

The sustainability advantages of MicroSolid Printing include the following:

  • A 30 percent reduction in environmental impact / clean energy
  • Uses >2 times fewer wafers for the same number of displays, leading to further water, power and materials savings.
  • Ongoing development for backplane, further saving power consumption
  • Seamless integration of high-efficient MicroSemi displays and surfaces for energy recycling and harvesting

How is VueReal democratizing production of MicroLED displays and in terms of scalability and seamless integration into existing technologies?

VueReal’s turnkey MicroSolid Printing™ platform seamlessly integrates with existing fabrication, display tools, and processes, offering customers a cost-effective transition to microLED with minimal capital expenditure.  VueReal provides two options: 

1) The development of high-resolution, high-transparency MicroLED displays and lighting-related products produced at its Canadian-based facility already serves several top global auto OEMs and display and consumer electronics companies.

2) A MicroSolid Printing Blueprint solution, available for licensing. This comprehensive offering includes VueReal’s patented transfer technology, MicroSolid printers and printer cartridges, backplane preparation, and data analytics—empowering customers to design, develop, and scale microLED and microdevice-based products anywhere in the world.  

What are the implications of MicroSolid Printing for other micro semi products?

VueReal MicroSolid Printing is compatible with different device structures and materials. This enables the integration of micro-sensor, micro-solar and other devices into a substrate. This allows applications to beyond display by the integration of sensors.  

Could you give us a walkthrough of your journey so far at VueReal?

VueReal’s seasoned management team and board—comprised of industry veterans from companies including Samsung, Sony, AT&T, Globalfoundries, and Cycle Capital—position the company to propel the $30B microLED display market by 2030 and spearhead innovation in the 1T annual microdevice market. 

VueReal already manufactures cutting-edge, high-performance microLED displays and lighting solutions for leading Automotive OEMs at its Canadian facility. VueReal is also collaborating with numerous manufacturers on VueReal’s MicroSolid Printing Blueprint solution.

VueReal has nearly 300 patents and a world-class R&D team. The company’s strategic partnerships reflect the company’s commitment to forging a global ecosystem to facilitate the cost-effective manufacturing of innovative MicroLED and micro semi device products for new and emerging applications.

With $60M USD in financing, VueReal is well-positioned to scale to become the gold standard in MicroSolid Printing successfully.

What are you currently working on, do you have any available opportunities for investors and partnerships at VueReal? Any more tips you would like to share with our readers today?

VueReal is committed to shaping the future of the display and sensor industry. This includes continuing  development of a turnkey platform that small and large companies can adopt for developing customized or high-volume products. VueReal partners with various tool vendors, material vendors and different component vendors to form a global ecosystem that will make MicroSolid Printing the industry standard. 

We welcome partners interested in collaborating with us to help accelerate the adoption of microLED and micro device products. We are also in the midst of another funding round to accelerate the development of this platform.

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