Researchers over at MIT have discovered a new microLED fabrication technique, which could finally give us the pixel density we've been looking for when it comes to high resolution gaming monitors. Known as vertical stacking, the process involves, well, stacking microLEDs in order to pack more LEDs into a smaller area, while avoiding the defects associated with high pixel density.
Pixels have been shrinking for years, and recent advancements have seen microLED tech take pixel density to new levels, though not in any way that PC gamers like us can practically enjoy. The problem comes when balancing pixel density, resolution, and size of a gaming monitor.
It's something of a juggling act, with each one affecting the other. If you want a high-resolution, high pixel density gaming monitor, even with microLED tech at your disposal, it's simply impossible to pack enough LEDs next to each other into the kind of panel size that's acceptable to house on your desk.
Right now, the smallest panel that makes use of microLED tech is Samsung's new MicroLED CX (opens in new tab). That's fine if you're using it from halfway across the room, but placing it on the desk in front of you would be a somewhat less palatable experience.
Best gaming monitor (opens in new tab): Pixel-perfect panels for your PC
Best high refresh rate monitor (opens in new tab): Screaming quick screens
Best 4K monitor for gaming (opens in new tab): When only high-res will do
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At the other end of the spectrum you don't want to limit the pixel density for a more appropriate-size gaming monitor, as you really start to notice it when it's close to your face. The same problem arises in VR. Since your eyes are so close to the panels, screen door effect is inevitable if manufacturers skimp on pixel density.
Now, that could all change. Using this innovative stacking technique, MIT researchers have been able to pack microLEDs into an incomparably high pixel density (opens in new tab) of 5,000 ppi. For context, your average gaming monitor tops out at around 160 ppi.
At just four microns wide, these stacked pixels are set to bring sharper visuals to smaller panels—be that practically-sized gaming monitors, or in MIT's words "fully immersive virtual reality displays".
We still have a long way to go before vertically stacked microLEDs grace the gaming monitor space, but it's a step toward kicking that painful screen door effect, for sure.