VueReal gets $8 million in funding from government of Canada
Funding focuses on the company’s aim of bringing micro-LEDs to the consumer market.
Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) has awarded $8.5 million in funding to VueReal Inc., a developer of key technologies for micro- and nano-devices, bringing the total project investment to $26 million.
VueReal will use the funding to further develop innovative micro-LED technologies by expanding its Waterloo team and launching an Advanced Nano-Technology Center – a fabrication facility based out of Waterloo.
“We are proud to have the support of this federal program, and collaborations with industry partners. The next steps include building an integrated pilot production system, engineering the equipment needed to enable VueReal’s proprietary Solid Printing™ process at commercial volumes, and enhancing the performance of micro-LEDs even further,” said Reza Chaji, Ph.D., CEO and Founder of VueReal.
Founded in 2016, VueReal positions themselves as a “Multidisciplinary research team covering everything from foundational research through production,” but specializes in the placement of tens of millions of individual micro-LEDs into precise locations in a very short period of time.
Compared to OLED LCD screens, the micro-LED screens are much brighter (a requirement for displays that must compete with ambient daylight), and support higher frame-rates, delivering denser pixels per inch (PPI), providing better contrast, being much more flexible, and doing it all at double or triple the power efficiency and with significantly longer lifetimes.
The proliferation of the technology has been limited due to cost and the highly-technical nature of its development – the high-vacuum system needs to be free of foreign particles or impurities in order to meet. Additionally, there’s the matter of efficiency as Samuel K. Moore from IEEE Spectrum points out:
“LEDs are fantastically efficient at the size used in lighting, but shrinking them down to micrometer-scale saps their efficiency. LEDs have border areas that leak current that could otherwise go to making light,” Moore writes. “As the chips get smaller, the ratio of border to light-emitter gets closer to 1:1 and efficiency sinks like a pair of lead swim trunks.”
VueReal expects the micro-LED technology to ubititqous across most applications including wearable tech, medical displays, dashboard displays and virtual reality, but is focusing the brunt of its efforts on the mobile phone, which if successful, would be a “New York, New York” kind of moment according to Chaji. VueReal also faces stiff competition from Apple of all companies, who are actively trying to reach the tipping point with micro-LED, albeit with much deeper pockets.