What Is MiP LED?

Micro LED packaging technology is beginning to dominate the LED space while offering utility in various use cases. From home theaters and virtual photography to educational spaces and 3D spaces, the LED display scene is adapting to a smaller-pitch innovation. Advanced display technology has improved technical processes and implementation, offering industry giants an opportunity in MiP packaging technology. This article tells you all you need to know about micro LED packaging technology, its examples, advantages, and comparison to other display packaging technologies.

What Is Micro LED Packaging Technology?

Micro LED packaging, or MiP is a newly developed LED packaging technology that uses uniquely diced micro LED panels, where every piece is packaged severally. It perfects micro LED packaging technology by segmenting big LED panels into smaller partitions. So how does MiP work while staying low cost? 

This technology offers better yield control, fewer product defects, optimized micro LED process testing, and, in turn, cost-effectiveness. Micro LED display technology leverages a few innovative techniques like:

  • Micro-array lens optical synthesis
  • Full-color RGB micro LED-based MiP packaging
  • Single-chip integration
  • UV/B micro-LED arrays fitted with capability for RGB quantum dot color conversion

The Most Comprehensive Comparison Between MiP LED vs COB Technology for LED Displays

Chip-on-board, or COB, as it is popularly called, is a manufacturing technique that relies on integrated circuits to function. Manufacturers bond and wire these integrated circuits onto unique printed circuit boards, making them a close alternative to MiP for some users. Below, we compare MiP and COB’s advantages, differences, and competitive benefits.

Advantages of MiP LED display

  • Better Display Effect: The MiP LED display combines perks like high contrast, color consistency, color sorting, micro RGB pixel, and brightness from multiple viewing angles for the optimum display effect. However, COB technology offers better surface light sources than MiP lighting and no grainy visual quality. 
  • Much Less Maintenance: There is no need to spend time or money maintaining the MiP LED display since its consistent ink color requires zero correction. That consistency is due to its great color mixing and light-splitting features. With COB, on the other hand, it is hard to repair one lamp, making maintenance hard.
  • Easy Replacement: You can easily repair or replace parts like lamps without affecting the LED screen. Conversely, replacement doesn’t come easy for COB technology, as only technical personnel can carry out necessary on-site replacement or welding of parts like unit boards. 
  • Wide Compatibility: MiP’s wide compatibility allows for versatile use with your existing equipment, lowering downstream rework expenses and defective screening rates. On the flip side, COB display technology offers limited requirements for mini LED chips.
  • Much Lower Cost: COB offers much higher manufacturing costs than MiPs. The major challenge is that COB package technology works on a big board having up to 1024 lights.
  • Better Heat Dissipation: The dispersion of heat in LED technology is vital for optimal operations and product life, with MiP LED modules offering less temperature rise and low monitor or screen power use. However, a significant COB LED difference is the strong heat dissipation when heat passes its PCB board.
  • Good Protection: MiP technology for LED displays gives great protection from static electricity, dust, and moisture via its packaging. Conversely, COB technology also protects the LED display from water, collision, static electricity, and dust.

Differences Between COB Packaging and MiP Packaging:

  • Working Principle: The core principle of MiP packaging is attaching the chip LED electrodes to the substrate electrode after completion. For COB packaging, brackets are absent, with the chips directly linked to the substrate with materials like conductive glue or silicone. Also, COB requires wire bonding to complete the electrical connections.
  • Different Characteristics: MiP is a super-thin packaging solution offering great production efficiency and heat dissipation during use. Conversely, COB is used for its aesthetic value and simple construction while integrating midstream LED packaging technology.
  • Manufacturing Cost: For the best quality and relatively cheaper experience, MiP is the preferred technology. COB’s and SMD’s P1.2 displays sell at similar prices to MiP’s P1.2. COB is more expensive for pitches bigger than P1.2; MiP is cost-effective for pitches lower than P1.2.
  • Stability: Using brackets means that MiP-packaged LED displays are slightly edged by COB-packaged displays in terms of quality and stability, as COB displays do not use brackets. 

Does MiP Have Long-term Competitiveness Compared With COB?

  • MiP Is a Transitional Technology?: The MiP LED technology has great benefits, especially in P3.0, P1.2, and P1.5 products, but market and price sensitivity are determinants of its status as a transitional technology over COB. For instance, most manufacturers design and market micro-pitch LEDs to exclusive markets focused on brand reputation yet hardly price-sensitive.  In years to come, we can expect a boost in the MiP LED market due to cost competition but not so much growth in the consumer markets. This is because of high-end demands for micro-pitch LEDs, such as all-in-one displays and 8K.
  • MiP LED Package Is Suitable for Small Businesses: Small businesses face little to no barriers to entry as MiP technology is cost-effective, flexible, and easy to perfect for small businesses. Conversely, COB display packaging technology has challenging requirements and generally not enough manufacturers.
  • MiP Is Currently Only Suitable for Large-size LED Screens: Large-sized direct-view LED screens are great in the consumer market, but only MiP technology caters to their production. COB screens with small pitches and micro LED screens are suitable for medium-sized and small display setups like vehicles and wearables.

Micro LED Vs. Mini LED Display: Which is Better?

If you stay long in the LED display industry, you may eventually ask this question, “is micro LED better than mini LED?” The truth is that both of them have their pros and cons and applications for which they are best suited.

For instance, micro-LEDs are commonly used in outdoor displays because of their impressive brightness. On the flip side, mini-LEDs are commonly used indoors. So, at the end of the day, how good each of them is has so much to do with what you intend to do with it. Still on the comparison, let’s take a look at the various ways to encapsulate both of them:

Mini-LED Encapsulation:

You can encapsulate mini-LED in four major ways, as discussed below:

  • SMD (Surface Mounted Display): Surface-mounted display LED packaging covers a wide range of pitch applications, beginning from P0.9 and continuing to more. The versatility of this mini-LED encapsulation makes up for  Mini LED solutions being prone to LED surface-induced damage.
  • COB (Chip on Board): Chip-on-board LED packaging technology is a mini LED encapsulation that completely removes the surface mount technology component required in MiP display manufacture. This significant removal means the chip LED COB is great for pitch applications ranging from P0.4 to P2. While COB technology might have issues with color consistency, you can expect uncompromised uniform surface illumination when used as a mini LED encapsulation solution.
  • IMD (Integrated Module Devices): Integrated module devices, as their name suggests, integrate all the benefits and utilities of COB and SMD encapsulation technology above, including great reliability and damage resistance. Such a seamless integration allows the IMD encapsulation to offer a pitch range of P0.4 to P0.9.
  • DIP (Dual In-line Packaging): DIP is arguably the simplest and oldest encapsulation method here and it involves the insertion of two pins of LED chip in a designated plastic holder. After insertion, manufacturers solder them to the mini LED’s PCB board. Mini LED benefits perks like low cost, high brightness, and fair resolution when encapsulated with DIP and they are perfect for outdoor displays that require bigger pixel pitches. 

Micro-LED Encapsulation Techniques

Micro LEDs have different encapsulation methods from mini due to their relatively different physical properties and size. Here are the top ways to encapsulate micro-LEDs:

  • Micro-Array Lens Optical Synthesis: This encapsulation technique is perhaps the most complexly structured, offering great micro resolution, but it may fail to meet higher resolution and brightness standards.
  • MiP (Micro LED in Package): The MiP package technology leverages RGB micro LEDs for stressless binning, testing, and sorting. All of these comprehensive features combine to lower downstream repair expenses and boost display consistency in MiP micro LEDs.
  • Single-Chip Integration: This technique of micro-LED encapsulation provides more brightness and resolution. However, it struggles with colorization.
  • UV/B Micro-LED Array With RGB Quantum Dot Color Conversion: The UV/B micro-LED array offers precise RGB quantum color conversion abilities. However, it has stability problems, which can be corrected with photolithography or spraying.

Will NSE LED MiP LED Packaging Technology Boosts Mini/Micro LED Development?

NSELED is fast becoming an industry leader in the LED display manufacturing space. As such, it leverages cutting-edge technologies to produce state-of-the-art LED screens and equipment. However, NSELED doesn’t hold any bias against any of these technologies, whether contemporary or emerging. For instance, NSELED has various suites of products manufactured with MiP and several others based on COB, SMS, DIP, and IMD technologies. 

This inclusive approach goes a long way in giving every display technology the visibility and adoption they need for consistent development. While mini/micro LED development requires an industry effort, NSELED is taking various initiatives that will, in turn, boost the advancement and growth of these technologies in a record time.

Will MiP Advantage Will Decline in the Future?

It’s difficult to accurately predict the trajectory MiP development will take in the not-too-distant future. However, the inevitable upgrade in COB packaging technology might see a decline in the MiP advantages, leading to a relatively high MiP price. Here are notable considerations to look at in terms of MiP advantages: 

  • The Advantage of MIP Is the Compromise Route: Some of the most notable benefits of MiP result from compromising one feature for another, such as low requirements over repair and detection. This compromise route is a game-changer for MiP packaging technology because of the present unreliable or immature nature of mass transfer technology. 
  • The Development of Small-size COB Will Promote the Development of Large-size Display COB: The successful commercial exploitation of medium micro LED display technology and micro LED technology will lead to a breakthrough in large-sized LED module goods. Such an innovation will inevitably spill over to COB technological improvements and affordability. 
  • MiP May Not Compete With COB in Fine Pitch, But Replace IMD and SMD: There is a big opportunity for COB packaging to significantly improve when these factors are innovated upon: LED mass transfer, performance superfluousness, and chip reliability. MiP, a new innovation, is capable of replacing SMD and IMD in terms of micro and small pitches, which is an easier pathway than competing with the expensive technology that is COB.

Conclusion

Micro LED display technology can potentially create impressively flexible and efficient displays that could be preferable to the more expensive OLED or LCD displays. MiP LED display technology is preferred for its low power consumption, wide color range, long lifetime, high contrast, easy connection, etc. While the difference between mini and micro LED packaging technology isn’t astronomical, there is still time for industry players to improve upon technical difficulties and position MiP as a top pick. 

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