Process technology that makes use of inkjet printing has been undergoing R&D in many places with little more than prototype equipment to show for. But, there is good news to be shared today. Seiko Epson and JSR, a material supplier, has accomplished what many call the holy grail in TFT LCD production, inket printing technology. I don't assume to understand everything about this technology but the silicon films (TFT) are freely formed by bonding liquid silicon (now this is interesting!) using inkjet printing technology. This process uses LTPS (low-temperature poly-silicon). The main problem in trying to achieve cost reductions in LCD production has been material prices. With inkjet printing, the promise is process simplification and reduction of material loss that will lead to LCD production cost reductions of 10%.
To get a bit more technical, the new liquid material is a high order silane compound of hydrogen and silicon dissolved in an organic solvent and forms a silicon film when spin-coated on the glass substrate and baked in an inert atmosphere. Electron mobility, an important indicator that shows performance potential of TFTs, are reportedly at 108cm2/Vs, about the same as that achieved by the normal CVD (chemical vapor deposition) method. Source: Epson