NIST sponsored OLED research aimed at portable iAppliances - Embedded.com

NIST sponsored OLED research aimed at portable iAppliances

Wilmington, Del. — Dupont Corp., Lucent Technologies and Sarnoff Corp. are working together to develop a next generation display technology based on organic light emitting diodes on plastic substrates that target the needs of a variety of small footprint communications and computing internet centric appliances.

This will include cellular phones, PDAs, Internet access appliances, industrial and consumer electronics and any other applications where bright, colorful, high contrast, thin, video capable displays are required.

The research initiative is being sponsored as a National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) Advanced Technology Program for three years. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Lucent Technologies' Bell Labs, a leader in organic thin film transistors, will be subcontracted to develop a new class of organic-TFT materials and design processes. This unique technical collaboration combines DuPont's expertise in OLED display panels, flexible substrates, cost-effective printing and organic-TFT technologies, and; Sarnoff's expertise in active matrix TFT designs and video display systems.

The technical venture plans to create flexible organic-TFT technology, which has the potential to dramatically reduce the cost of display back planes while enabling the fabrication of lower cost flexible display devices. Standard silicon-based TFT back plane manufacturing is a costly process with a need for billion-dollar facilities and it is also inherently incompatible with flexible plastic substrates – involving multiple high-temperature vacuum deposition and photolithography steps that are hostile to a plastic substrate.

Using advanced polymer materials, OLEDs produce bright, high-contrast display panels with fast refresh rates and a wide viewing angle. OLED panels are emissive, eliminating the need for the backlight required in display technologies such as liquid crystal displays (LCDs). Their striking appearance and thin profile will help many OEMs differentiate their products.

According to market research firm DisplaySearch, the flat-panel display market is estimated to grow from a current $30 billion to $57 billion by 2006 in a variety of markets including cellular phones, PDAs, Internet access appliances, industrial and consumer electronics

The development of flexible displays represents DuPont Displays' third generation OLED products and would potentially address market applications ranging from small and medium to very large-sized displays. DuPont Displays anticipates the technology to be available by 2007. A mass production line in Hsinchu, Taiwan, was announced in August 2002 with plans to manufacture passive matrix, polymer-based OLED displays on glass. These first products will be used in hand-held mobile communication devices such as cell phones and PDAs. DuPont Displays also plans to upgrade its pilot line facility in Santa Barbara to accommodate the fabrication of flexible polymer-based OLED displays by end of 2004.

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