String of successes for brilliant CDT
The NASDAQ quoted hi-tech pioneer Cambridge Display Technology has posted a string of successes that demonstrate that it is really starting to pick up commercial steam as a world-leading pioneer in the development of polymer organic light emitting diode displays (P-OLEDs).
P-OLEDs are used in a broad range of electronic display products used for information management, communications and entertainment and CDT is increasingly the partner and technology of choice.
In terms of commercial validation, June has been busting out all over for CDT.
Ink jet printing has become an important potential method for manufacturing P-OLED displays, and CDT and its partners have built substantial expertise in its application.
Ink jet printing is capable of offering huge scalability, fast throughput and high material utilisation. It is capable of producing displays on the very large glass sizes now used in the display industry – over two metres across.
This allows economies of scale as well the production of large displays e.g. for flat panel televisions.
In June, CDT announced a programme with Litrex Corporation in the US which will pave the way for the production of a new generation of high resolution P-OLEDs through the development of an inkjet printing solution capable of producing P-OLED displays at up to 200 pixels per inch (ppi).
High resolution displays are becoming increasingly important for small to medium size display applications such as cell phones (see pic), where market research data indicates that consumers are demanding ever more sophisticated content for information and entertainment.
P-OLED displays provide an ideal combination of fast video response, high contrast and low power consumption.
Litrex printers are capable of highly precise printing, and the achievement of 200ppi resolution will require inkjet drops to be placed with even greater accuracy and consistency.
The work will cover both hardware and software enhancements, mainly to take place at Litrex, as well as process developments at CDT including plasma pre-treatment, print strategy and film formation development.
The work is expected to be completed by the second half of 2007.
CEO Dr David Fyfe said: “The development of a high resolution manufacturing solution for P-OLED displays is extremely important to the display industry, and will provide a scaleable approach to the production of high resolution, high added value displays. Our customers are already very excited at the prospect.”
In a separate deal, CDT announced the sale of an inkjet printing system and associated know-how to the National University of Sing-apore (NUS). CDT expects this will boost the University's already impressive rate of progress in the development of polymer electronics technologies.
In addition to installing a sophisticated Litrex 120 system, CDT will provide know-how based on extensive experience – gained at its Technology Development Centre – of inkjet printing for the evaluation and pre-production of P-OLED displays.
NUS has built significant expertise in the exploratory development of polymer transistor and logic circuits for plastic semiconductor electronics research at its Organic Nano Device Laboratory (ONDL), and has established an infrastructure that supports inter-departmental collaboration in this field.
Also announced at the June international Society for Information Display convention in San Francisco was the development of yet another potential production technique for P-OLED displays: roll printing.
In conjunction with Toppan Printing, the leading Japanese information and communications company based in Tokyo, CDT showed what is believed to be the world’s first roll-printed OLED display, a 5.5 inch full color active matrix polymer OLED displays.
The display is the result of close co-operation between Toppan and CDT and part of their joint development activity, which began in February 2005.
The companies believe that roll printing represents a promising alternative production technique which offers the potential for very good display uniformity, very high display resolution and low capital and operating costs.
In the future, this type of roll printing process could be well suited for making flexible P-OLED displays.
CDT believes that this combination of properties can only be achieved with solution-based printing processes.
The technique is based on relief printing, a well-established method for the transfer of soluble materials onto a range of substrates, but which has been developed by Toppan into a highly precise technology capable of producing patterned pixels of small size and highly uniform distribution.
The companies believe that the process is capable of scaling to large substrate size and very high resolution, potentially over 200 ppi.
Dr Fyfe said: “Toppan has achieved a significant step forward with the production of these demonstrator displays and we are delighted at the early fruits of our partnership with them.”
Formed in 1900, the Toppan Printing Co. Ltd. is the largest Japanese printing company, with over 10,500 employees.
CDT and H.C. Starck have just announced an extension to their current co-operative relationship by which CDT will supply customised formulations of Starck organic materials used in the manufacture of P-OLED displays.
H.C. Starck expects to supply larger customers who have commercial display manufacturing operations.
To complete a great month CDT recently sold a sophisticated Eclipse™ display test system to global pharmaceutical and chemical company Merck OLED Materials GmbH, based in Frankfurt.
The equipment will be used to enhance productivity in the development and evaluation of materials for organic light emitting diode displays.
The Eclipse system to be supplied to Merck consists of 192 digital source-measure channels and associated hardware and software, some of which has been customised for Merck's particular requirements.
In particular, the system has been adapted for use at high temperatures and glove box operation.
Eclipse test equipment is specially designed for testing a broad range of emissive display devices and allows their rapid and reliable characterisation, including measurement of lifetime under constant current, voltage or luminance conditions.
In addition to its role in enhancing materials development programs, the equipment is invaluable for device architecture optimisation, reliability testing and drive scheme development.
CDT remains confident that its innovative technology can become the fourth major display technology ever, following CRT, LCD and plasma into our daily lives.
• To contact Cambridge Display Technology, access www.cdtltd.co.uk