Priorities in Electronic-Display Development


by Paul Drzaic
President, Society for Information Display

While there is plenty to like in the upcoming Display Week events in San Antonio, I have a special affection for the Technical Symposium. The Symposium papers span a wide gamut – some describe new concepts in electronic displays, while others demonstrate exciting performance improvements in existing displays. These papers indicate where the people shaping the electronic-display industry are placing their bets for the future.

This year, the SID Technical Program Committee reviewed the 450 papers scheduled for presentation and identified over 40 that were particularly noteworthy. I have had a lot of fun browsing through the list, and I am amazed at the breadth of topics that have been highlighted as important. While in this short column I cannot summarize each and every paper highlighted, I can pick out a few that illustrate two trends that show where today's priorities are in electronic-display development.

LCDs are working to maintain their advantage as the most cost-effective source of high-quality displays, so many papers deal with novel approaches toward reduced-cost manufacturing. For example, collaborators at Samsung Electronics and Nakan Corp. describe how they used a single laser-ablation step to replace a six-step process to pattern ITO in a TFT panel. A group at LG Electronics discusses the use of electro-hydrodynamic jet technology as a reliable, high-throughput means for repair of the black matrix in a TFT panel. A contribution from Asahi Kasei EMD provides a detailed analysis of a means of inhibiting the contamination of photomasks. These papers (and others) show why it is going to be so hard to displace LCDs from dominance – the level of refinement in manufacturing is amazing.

Nevertheless, a major contender for replacing LCDs as the mainstream display technology is organic light-emitting-diode (OLED) displays. Several papers will focus on high-efficiency manufacturing of conventional OLED displays, including contributions from Dupont (multi-nozzle jet printing), Kodak (a Gen 5 flash evaporation system for organic molecules), and a collaboration between Doosan Mecatech and Veeco (a high-efficiency scanning evaporation system that could potentially build Gen 6 substrates). Emerging OLED displays also make their mark in the upcoming Symposium. Samsung SDI will present a paper on its remarkable achievement of a 6.5-in. flexible AMOLED using a metal-oxide transistor on a plastic substrate. Sony will describe its work on an OLED display driven by organic TFTs that is flexible, reliable, and manufactured using a scalable process. A collaboration between Kodak and Semprius will discuss work in OLED displays using ICs that are "printed" onto a substrate using a unique transfer process. With so much innovation, plus the optical advantage of OLEDs, perhaps LCDs do have some cause for worry after all!

If I had more space, I would touch on 3-D technologies, touch technologies, flexible electronic paper, advanced driver technologies, components for pico projectors, wireless panel architectures, high-brightness reflective displays, and "electronic skin" technology. Alas, I don't. You will just have to enjoy discovering these papers (and others) on your own during Display Week 2009 in San Antonio. •