Author Archives: Audrey Fanshaw

Pixelligent’s PixCor™ Receives “Display Component of the Year” Award from the Society for Information Display (SID)

SAN JOSE, Calif. – May 15, 2024Pixelligent Technologies was honored today with an award for “Display Component of the Year” from the Society for Information Display (SID). The accolade, announced at Display Week 2024, recognizes Pixelligent’s PixCor™ high-refractive-index (HRI) nanocomposite materials for next-generation extended reality (XR) devices.

Pixelligent’s VP of Product Development and Strategy, Neil Pschirer, Ph.D., was present to accept the award. He joined leaders who received similar accolades for their contributions to the global display industry from the prestigious industry organization.

“To be recognized by SID for our display-enabling materials is a special honor for the Pixelligent team. Their awards have frequently served as predictors for the technologies that would revolutionize the consumer electronics industry. We are proud that PixCor is among this year’s winners for its role in enabling XR displays.”

~ Neil Pschirer, VP of Product Development & Strategy at Pixelligent

PixCor: The Award-Winning Nanocomposite Material for Next-Generation XR Displays

PixCor is the newest addition to Pixelligent’s XR product line. It is a high-index nanocomposite material that, when patterned, functions as an optical combiner to merge virtual images with real-world content in XR displays. The novel core-shell material helps manufacturers overcome technical obstacles that created bottlenecks for next-generation XR displays. The product was developed to boost the functionality of titania (TiO2)—a critical high-index nanoparticle that drives optical performance in the devices. Exclusively formulated into Pixelligent’s HRI PixNIL formulations, it is the only commercially available material that combines high-index and optical clarity while dramatically improving UV stability.

PixCor is produced by adding a proprietary shell around a PixClear titania particle. The resulting material offers improved UV stability while still delivering the combined advantages of HRI (1.85), low haze (0.1 percent), and high transparency (95%). PixCor-enabled ready-to-use PixNIL formulation products exhibit excellent patterning properties with industry-leading nanoimprint tools and can deliver high aspect ratio (6:1) features and slanted and blazed gratings.

HRI materials give XR devices powerful advantages by expanding the field of view (FoV) to create a truly immersive viewing experience. Although TiO2 is uniquely suited for this application as one of the highest-refractive materials available, it has limitations. TiO2 absorbs UV light, which can degrade the quality of the optical films and components in the device and produce a quality-killing “yellowing” effect. PixCor tackles the problem by improving the photochemical and thermal stability of the material. Depending on the device configuration, the novel product can dramatically reduce or potentially eliminate the photocatalytic activity and absorption effects.

Beyond enabling advanced XR devices, Pixelligent’s HRI materials are being used by industry leaders to boost performance in next-generation consumer electronics products, such as brighter OLED displays and more efficient 3D sensors.

 

PixNIL, PixCor and PixClear are trademarked by Pixelligent Technologies.

Pixelligent High RI materials for 3D Sensors

Three-dimensional (3D) sensing is the process of electrically acquiring width, length, and depth information and using this information to enhance the interfaces between human beings, machines, and the surrounding world. 3D sensing technology enables electronic devices and robots to “view” and interpret the physical world in a comprehensive and meaningful manner by using near-infrared light reflection, photography, geometric concepts, and a powerful processor.[i]

High Refractive Index (HRI) materials are playing an ever-increasing critical role in next-generation sensors. Our PixNIL(R) HRI products help to reduce the thickness of 3D sensing components while increasing the sensing power and angles and reducing the dimensions of the micro-lens array diffuser.

PixNIL(R) HRI solvent-containing or solvent-free materials can be structured via nano- or micro-imprinting techniques, well-established and cost-effective methods for producing patterned surfaces on the wafer level.

For more information, please email us at marketing@pixelligent.com.

[i] https://www.researchdive.com/blog/applications-of-3d-sensors-in-the-3-most-crucial-sectors-in-the-world

Pixelligent Featured as a DoE SBIR/STTR Success Story

We are honored to be featured as a “Success Story” by the Office of Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) Programs. We share the spotlight with innovators who are continuing our nation’s proud tradition of pioneering breakthrough technologies and even shaping new industries.

Funded by the US Department of Energy, the Office of SBIR/STTR Programs publishes the success stories to “highlight small businesses that have successfully transitioned their SBIR/STTR funded technology to Phase III. Phase III refers to work that derives from, extends, or completes an effort made under prior SBIR/STTR Funding agreements, but is funded by sources other than the SBIR/STTR programs. Phase III work is typically oriented towards commercialization of SBIR/STTR research or technology, including through further research and development work.”

Over the years, the successive grants provided essential early funding that helped us develop our advanced materials, or as our CTO, Z. Serpil Gonen Williams, PhD, says: “grow way past the ‘five grams in the lab’ model”. It kept us on a steady innovation trajectory as we strengthened our financial position with successful capital-raising initiatives. In addition, the programs helped us forge close collaborations with partners — from universities and national labs, to leading technology companies — that enabled us to test, refine and scale our technology for mass production.

Today, our materials are used by global companies to drive advancements in consumer electronics products like extended reality devices, as well as OLED displays, sensors, and other applications.

We are grateful for the DoE’s enduring support, their wise counsel, and their confidence in our mission. We are proud to be recognized for our world-class innovation, for building a team of experts that is committed to growing our portfolio of breakthrough materials, and for contributing in ways big and small to the Baltimore community we call home.

The Marriage of XR & AI. Not since Peanut Butter & Jelly has there been a better combination!

The promise of extended reality (XR) has been building for over a decade. In fact, Google was first to debut the concept with its novel Google Glasses in 2013. Like many category-creating breakthroughs, it was well ahead of its time. Nevertheless, while the market was not ready, the product’s elegant, lightweight form factor offered a tantalizing preview of what was possible given a perfect combination of design + advanced materials + hardware + software.

 

Fast-forward 11 years, and the product category is now ready for mass adoption, with the largest technology companies on the planet – Apple, Microsoft, Meta, Sony, and others committing billions of dollars to their XR product platforms. This is just the beginning. The surge of AI via ChatGpt and other chatbots in the last twelve months has added rocket fuel to the XR market. The convergence of these disruptive technologies promises to enable increasingly sophisticated and seamless interactions between humans and virtual environments, impacting every industry and delivering productivity and quality-of-life enhancements that until now have existed only in our imagination.

 

The potential near-term applications of XR+AI include:

 

  • Enhanced User Experience: Personalized experiences, adapting content to user preferences.

 

  • Data Processing & Analysis: AI technologies can process vast amounts of data generated by XR devices, enabling real-time analytics and object recognition.

 

  • Content Generation: AI can assist in creating and optimizing XR content, generating realistic simulations, and dynamically adjusting virtual environments based on user interactions.

 

  • Natural Language Processing (NLP): Integrating NLP capabilities enhances communication within XR experiences, letting users interact with virtual environments using natural language and making the experience more intuitive.

 

  • Gesture and Emotion Recognition: AI enables XR systems to recognize gestures and emotions, enhancing the natural interaction between users and virtual environments.

 

  • Simulation: AI-driven simulations in XR environments are valuable for training purposes in diverse industries, from healthcare to manufacturing, offering realistic scenarios for skills development.

 

Pixelligent has been at the epicenter of the XR trend from the earliest days. In the last five years, we have supported the accelerated development of the industry by developing and delivering the high-index optical materials that form the essential building blocks of XR devices.

 

In just the last 12-18 months, we have had a front-row seat to the industry’s extraordinary evolution through our partnerships with leading consumer electronics companies, mass-production equipment makers, waveguide developers, sensor companies, lens makers, and complimentary materials companies. And the blinding-fast pace of innovation continues. Just take the integration of ChatGpt and other powerful AI applications to devices like the Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses, the Meta Quest, and the Apple Vision Pro.

 

It seems obvious that we have reached a rare intersection of the right product, for the right market, at the right time. We are seeing a new level of acceptance from the innovators AND the early adopters, with the early majority not far behind. Over the next 24 months, we expect an array of new devices, capabilities, and applications to hit the B2B and prosumer markets, which will pave the way for mass consumer adoption starting in 2027/28.

 

The age of XR+AI is here, and with it, a new world of possibilities and advancements to improve lives and help solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges.

 

I can’t wait for What’s Next!

The Age of Materials

In a recent LinkedIn post, @Kai Beckmann from Merck used the phrase “The Age of Materials” to describe the shift from breakthroughs driven mainly by improvements in equipment and processing over the past two decades, to fundamental breakthroughs enabled by innovative next-gen materials. While he was referring to chipmaking, it instantly resonated with me as we’ve been hearing the same concept from customers for the past 2-3 years.

 

Case in point: Until about five years ago, the 1.50 refractive index of organic monomers was “good enough” to support the optics/optical requirements for displays, sensors, and early-stage XR (extended reality) devices. This is no longer the case. In fact, the refractive-index boost achieved by incorporating high-index and finely dispersed inorganic nanomaterials into organic monomers didn’t just introduce an “enabling game-changer”; it became a fundamental requirement to achieve the extreme optical and mechanical properties of current and planned XR devices, displays, and sensors. And the properties are only becoming more extreme.

 

The benefits of using high-index materials include:

 

  • Thinner Screens for XR devices, smartphones, tablets, and laptops, resulting in increased brightness, longer battery life, less heat, and reduced weight.
  • Improved Optical Performance by reducing optical distortions such as color fringing and aberrations, resulting in sharp, clear, and vibrant visuals in various display applications.
  • Wider Fields of View / Viewing Angles allowing users to experience improved immersion with consistent and accurate colors from various positions.
  • Improved Light Efficiency/Brightness by optimizing the transmission of light through optical components, which is essential for creating vibrant and lifelike XR visuals.
  • Improved Sensitivity of sensors by optimizing the interaction between the incoming signals (such as light or electromagnetic waves) and the sensor material, resulting in more accurate and responsive sensor readings.
  • Miniaturization, enabling the design and fabrication of smaller sensor components without sacrificing performance. This is particularly crucial in applications where space is limited, like mobile devices, wearables, or medical implants.

 

Pixelligent has been refining the development and mass production of high-refractive, inorganic, 3nm-20nm capped Zirconia, Titania, and PixCor™ nanocrystals and formulations for over 15 years. Our PixNIL®, PixJet®, and PixClear® products, deliver refractive indices up to 2.0, have >95% transparency, virtually no haze, and have robust mechanical properties. What’s more, with the ability to control the critical components of high-index formulations, Pixelligent can fine-tune target properties in ways that competitors can’t match and leading consumer electronics companies demand, for their state-of-the-art XR, display, and sensor applications.

 

To learn more about how Pixelligent can help you meet your exacting optical requirements please visit Pixelligent.com or send a note to: Alex Everett at aeverett@pixelligent.com for customers in the US; Vincent Jao at vjao@pixelligent.com for customers in China, Japan, and Taiwan; and Michael Kim at mkim@pixelligent.com for customers in The Republic of Korea.

 

https://www.linkedin.com/posts/kai-beckmann_chemicals-and-materials-to-play-key-role-activity-7155921009580093440-ai2n?utm_source=share&utm_medium=member_desktop

Reflecting on Photonics West 2024

Great turnout for Dr. Neil Pschirer’s presentation at the Photonics West conference in San Francisco. We were not surprised. His talk focused on the processability advantages of our high index nanocomposite materials in high-volume manufacturing, which is a hot topic for customers. It cited performance data from our most recent work with valued manufacturing partner EV Group*, making it even more interesting for attendees.

Dr. Neil Pschirer takes the stage at Photonics West 2024

Since joining us last year as VP of Product Development & Strategy, Neil has strengthened our innovation programs and focused our product strategy to enable customers’ extended reality device designs and other applications. We were proud that he represented Pixelligent at the show.

With fresh insights on the innovation trends that dominated the show and a host of engaging discussions with customers and partners, we asked him to share what he observed with Pixelligent’s Blog Staffer (PBS). Enjoy the read.

PBS: Why is Photonics West a top conference on Pixelligent’s calendar?

NP: Photonics West is one of the world’s largest gatherings of leading-edge optoelectronics experts. And now, with the surging popularity of extended reality displays, SPIE hosts a parallel AR/MR/VR event. This event features presentations from companies across the value chain – from leading consumer electronics giants to key technology providers focused on optical components, including displays and sensors. It’s a big attraction for companies like Pixelligent that offer next-gen technology solutions to enable AR/MR/VR products.

PBS: Tell us about your talk. What details resonated especially with attendees?

NP: With XR devices well beyond a cool concept and now in the hands of consumers, leading companies want access to the latest materials to enable their next-gen XR headgear. Pixelligent’s materials are taking it a step further, making the experience fully immersive with a high Field-of View (FoV). But that is just the start. Customers are especially keen to know about processability in high-volume manufacturing.

We showed that our materials are the easiest in the industry to use, increasing production yields, and thereby enabling a lower manufacturing cost. We call this having a large process window and it is essential for bringing this technology to scale. That is why I focused my talk on this important topic.

Beyond that, it also gave me an opportunity to expand on Pixelligent’s in-house manufacturing capabilities. For a young company like ours, scalability is always top of mind for customers. They want assurance that their vendors can reliably supply products in high volume with the highest quality and with acceptable lead times. That is what we are doing at our manufacturing facility in Baltimore.

PBS: What were the top questions following your talk?

NP: This is a very sophisticated audience with a keen understanding of materials and their enabling role in next-gen products. Questions were sharp and centered on how we achieved the improvements in processability from a formulation standpoint. This focused our discussions on tunability. I explained that by tuning specific components in the formulations, customers can achieve measurable gains in performance, reliability and even manufacturability. This tunable capability is a unique advantage of Pixelligent’s offerings and one that’s drawing a lot of interest.

 

Dr. Neil Pschirer lists the processability advantages of Pixelligent’s formulations for next-gen XR devices.

PBS: What’s the next event on Pixelligent’s calendar?

NP: Display Week is the big one. It will take us back to the Bay Area (San Jose) in May. We’ll have a large presence there. In fact, our VP of Sales, Jeff Anderson, will moderate a panel featuring start-up CEOs discussing the challenges and opportunities of emerging companies in today’s display industry.

*We recently published a white paper expanding on the topic addressed by Neil. Our friends at EV Group kindly participated. To get a copy, please contact Alex Everett at aeverett@pixelligent.com.