Industry News September/October 2016 Issue 5

Global Lighting Technologies Opens Fifth Fab in Taiwan

Global Lighting Technologies, a major maker of LED-based edge-lit light-guide technology, has completed construction of a fifth manufacturing facility, located within a newly built Science Park in Tongluo, Taiwan (Fig. 1).  The factory was scheduled to open for production in September 2016.

This facility was developed as a green building and includes new fully automatic equipment that will enable light-guide fabrication to go from “pellet to pallet” without operator involvement.  These are the most efficient extrusion lines ever employed by GLT for production and are capable of manufacturing light guides up to 80 in. on the diagonal.  GLT estimates that the additional capacity will enable the company to reach 15–20% market share for light guides used within edge-lit LCD TVs worldwide.

Fig. 1:  GLT’s new fab in Taiwan will enable the manufacture of light guides up to 80 in. on the diagonal.

Nanoco and Merck Sign Agreement on Cadmium-Free Quantum Materials for Displays

UK-based Nanoco Group plc, a world leader in the development and manufacture of cadmium-free quantum dots and other nanomaterials, has entered into a non-exclusive license agreement with science and technology giant Merck, which will market Nanoco’s material to its customer base in the display industry.  Nanoco, a spinoff from the University of Manchester, already has development and manufacturing agreements in place with Osram and Dow, respectively.  The license allows Merck to immediately start marketing Nanoco’s cadmium-free quantum dots and to ultimately establish its own production facility to meet growing market demand.  Merck will begin marketing Nanoco’s technology in the near term by selling cadmium-free quantum dots manufactured at Nanoco’s expanded production plant in Runcorn, UK.

“The license agreement with Nanoco will strengthen our position in quantum materials research, for which we laid the foundations by acquiring [nanocrystal materials developer] Qlight Nanotech of Israel last year,” said Walter Galinat, a member of the Merck Executive Board and CEO of Performance Materials.

The financial details of the agreement have not been disclosed, but Nanoco will receive a license fee and royalties on Merck’s sales of the Nanoco cadmium-free quantum dots Merck manufactures.  While the environmental and performance advantages and disadvantages of cadmium-free QDs are currently a subject for discussion in the courts and in the literature (see article below), European regulations tend to favor cadmium-free QDs over those with cadmium – though perhaps not for the long term.

A Quantum Dot by Any Other Name ...

According to a recent report from authors at Germany’s Öko Institute for Applied Ecology, cadmium-based quantum dots should retain a “short-term” exemption from European environmental regulations for TV applications, but not for lighting.

EU environmental regulations generally ban cadmium, but there are exceptions; for example, the cadmium-telluride (CdTe) solar panels made by First Solar, cadmium-doped optical filters, and the cadmium-selenide (CdSe) QDs used in TVs and other displays.  The authors conclude that CdSe-based QDs provide wider color gamut and lower energy consumption in displays compared with alternative QDs, although that finding has already been disputed by cadmium-free QD-developer Nanoco Group (see main article).  Regulations are paticularly difficult to establish, note the reports’s authors, because the pace of commercial product introduction outstrips that of the related investigation and testing.1


Gamma Scientific Releases New Glass Measurement Tool

A new reflectometer system from Gamma Scientific delivers high-speed automated reflectance measurements of glass for display and architectural uses and is designed for use in a production setting.  The Dual Angle Reflectance Measurement System provides  ±0.05% accuracy and includes built-in second-surface reflection suppression that can eliminate measurement errors on glass as thin as 0.3 mm.  Built-in self-calibration is designed to enable the system to consistently produce high accuracy data, even when being used by untrained personnel in harsh environments.

The Dual Angle Reflectance Measurement System comprises two optical heads and spectrometers, all housed in a dark enclosure that enables measurements in high-ambient-light production environments (Fig. 2).

The measurement head uses motorized positioners to rapidly acquire any number of desired data points on substrates as large 0.4 m × 0.4 m and automatically acquires correct focus at the glass surface through the use of a laser-based height sensor.  All instrument control and data acquisition hardware and software are included with the system.

>In addition to pure colorimetric binning, measurements can be analyzed relative to other substrate positions for uniformity and color-difference judgement criteria.  By utilizing these reflectance measurements results – together with the system’s integrated film thickness analysis tool – directly into the production-line feedback control, higher yields and more consistent coating uniformity on the glass or other substrates can be achieved.  •

Fig. 2:  Gamma Scientific’s Dual Angle Reflectance Measurement System is designed for high-speed automated reflectance measurements of glass for display and architectural uses.