An interview with Pixelligent's CEO, to discuss the company's technology and latest OLED industry updates

US-based Pixelligent is an advanced materials company that delivers next generation optical materials applications in lighting and displays. For the OLED industry, Pixelligent offers materials that significantly increase light output by increasing the refractive index of materials in the device.

Pixelligent's President and CEO, Craig Bandes, was kind enough to answe a few questions we had, to learn more about Pixelligent and its solutions for the OLED industry.

Hello Craig! Can you explain your technology and materials and how they enhance the efficiency of OLED display?

We are best known for our high refractive index (HRI) nanocrystal formulations and dispersions that deliver breakthrough performance in next-generation electronics, like extended reality, displays, optics, and sensors. We designed our PixJet®, PixNIL®, and PixClear® products to offer the best combination of brightness, clarity, operating efficiencies, and device-lifetime. 


For OLED displays, our PixJet formulations and PixClear dispersions offer advantages that include HRI, high transparency, low haze, and robust mechanical properties. Collectively, the advantages enable more effective light manipulation, allowing for improved light extraction from OLEDs. 

Our products can be incorporated into various OLED layers, such as the micro lens array (MLA), optical adhesives, and anti-reflective coatings. By applying our technology throughout the device, OLED manufacturers can minimize internal reflection and increase the efficiency of their OLED device. Greater efficiency means displays that are brighter, less energy-hungry, generate less heat, and have longer battery life.

Pixelligent started developing high refractive-index materials for OLED displays many years ago. Can you update us on your latest status? 

HRI materials have game-changing potential for microLED and OLED displays. While Pixelligent historically produced tunable and HRI dispersions, we have steadily transitioned to producing proprietary formulations around our PixClear® zirconia and titania nanocrystals.

 Pixelligent PixJET

The first product families include PixJet® ink-jettable formulation for displays and PixNIL® for nanoimprint formulations for XR devices and sensors. The first devices with “Pixelligent Inside” hit the market early last year, and we have customers at various stages of adoption with both products for introductions planned from now through 2026.

 Pixelligent PixNIL

We are the only advanced materials company that controls all the critical components of our formulations--from nanocrystal synthesis to final formulation. Our integrated development process lets us tune and optimize the properties that enable better field of view, brightness, image clarity, battery life, and overall device performance.

We know that Pixelligent hoped to design its materials into AMOLED displays years ago, but that didn’t happen yet. In recent years, we have seen OLED makers emphasize efficiency (with new materials, driving technologies, new architectures, and more). Is that time now right for your materials in this industry?

As many display material innovators learned, adoption of new materials takes more time and investment than anticipated. We initially developed our PixJet formulations with a formulation partner. But we soon learned that we could achieve greater success by controlling all aspects of product development for customers. That is how we developed our PixJet® product, which we launched a year ago. We demonstrated that using PixJet products can increase light output by >15% and significantly reduce the heat generated by the trapped light. In addition, by fully controlling the process, we can offer a price point that lets customers realize a sizable share of the added value. 

A few years ago, Pixelligent put a lot of emphasis on the OLED lighting market, designing materials to enhance light extraction for lighting panels. This market has been slow to emerge, although there are some encouraging signs recently. Are you still active in this market?

That’s right. We spent a lot of time developing OLED lighting materials and have received over $5M from the US Department of Energy to help fund the effort. In a collaboration with the market leader at the time, our PixClear® materials demonstrated lumen gain improvements >200%, essentially taking an OLED panel from 40w to 85w.  
We are starting to see new activity here and have continued to improve our PixClear® products. We would love to see this beautiful and highly efficient light source enter the architectural and general lighting market soon.

In November 2022 Pixelligent raised $45 million from MVolution Partners and other investors. I wonder how this large round enabled Pixelligent to grow and accelerate its projects? Can you tell us about some of the more recent & exciting developments at Pixelligent?

We were thrilled to secure the funding, which came through multiple closings over an 18-month period (due to Covid), and was backed to a large extent by the value of our IP portfolio. It provided the resources for us to scale strategically, adding critical talent and infrastructure to meet fast-shifting market dynamics and ensuing customer requirements. 

The financing has allowed us to expand our product portfolio to enable a broader array of AR/MR devices, OLED/MicroLED displays, sensors, and other industrial applications. The new products include PixJet, developed as our ink-jettable formulation line for OLED and microLED displays, and PixCor, our new HRI, UV-stable dispersion technology that has been formulated into our PixNIL nanoimprintable formulations. PixCor-enabled products are drawing substantial interest from XR customers. 

In addition, we strengthened our team in a big way, hiring experienced executives to product development, manufacturing, operations, global sales, and business development roles.

Pixelligent recently joined the MicroLED Industry Association. How do you view your role in the microLED industry? Do you think we will see commercial microLED displays in the next 3-5 years?

Joining the MicroLED Industry Association (MIA) is a good move for Pixelligent. It lets us connect with display industry leaders and promote our display-enabling materials.

We agree with that timeline – both from an industry readiness and product demand standpoint. Our HRI formulations offer valuable solutions for the efficiency and cost challenges facing the emerging microLED display field, by way of delivering better light output, higher efficiency, and lower overall costs. We feel certain that advancements in wearables, TVs, and XR devices will continue to drive demand for microLEDs and in turn, fuel demand for our products. 

We know that XR is considered a high-growth space for Pixelligent. How does your technology enable lightguides for AR/MR? 

We were drawn to XR by product/application fit, as well as market size, which today is valued at approximately $35 billion and is expected to grow exponentially over the next decade. 

We found that nanoparticles such as our PixClear titania (TiO2) with HRI values of up to 2.0 in the visible light spectrum, could vastly improve the field of view (FoV) in XR waveguide and lightguide designs. 

Around the same time, customer feedback suggested an urgent need for higher RI materials. This sparked development of our PixClear TiO2 nanocrystals and PixNIL formulations which was a breakthrough for the XR industry. For the first time, manufacturers could get RI-matching nanomaterials that were tunable to their specific needs in a cost-effective package that increases the observable virtual enhancements to the real world seen through the XR headset for a richer viewing experience.

Furthermore, the XR device universe is broad and includes sensors, optical engines, substrates, OLED/microLED displays, and other material technologies that collectively enable the user experience. These components all benefit from HRI materials. Not surprisingly, therefore, it is a very attractive application for Pixelligent.

What’s next for Pixelligent?

If 2023 was all about scaling, 2024 is about growth through focused execution. As mentioned earlier, last year we scaled our team, our manufacturing capacity, our product line, and our IP portfolio, and we expanded our customer base in the US and Asia. In the coming year, we will measure success by design wins with consumer electronics leaders and steady shipments to customers. It is already happening, which makes this an exciting time for Pixelligent.

Thank you Craig for this interesting interview! I hope to hear good news from Pixelligent soon. Here's a video of Craig's recent online interview with Sri Peruvemba, for even more details from Pixelligent:

Posted: Jan 06,2024 by Ron Mertens