On May 7, 2008, DuPont and Dainippon Screen Manufacturing announced their intention to form a strategic alliance to develop integrated manufacturing equipment for printed organic light emitting diode (OLED) displays. The companies also have signed an agreement to bring together materials, technology and equipment to mass produce OLED displays that feature enhanced performance, lower cost and larger sizes.
Image courtesy: DuPont (4.3″ full-color OLED display manufactured with DuPont materials and Dainippon fabrication equipment.)
OLED display pixels are made of emissive organic material based thin films. There are many potential advantages of OLED relative to LCDs:
- Higher contrast ratios
- Lower power consumption: OLED pixels draw power only when in use
- Faster response time
- No need for the backlight: Allows for thinner, lower cost, less power consuming displays.
- No need for color filter: Improved light efficiency and brightness.
There are, however, major challenges for OLED displays. Manufacturing costs for OLEDs are relatively much higher than LCDs and there are limited to small sizes. The largest OLED display that is currently being mass manufactured is Sony’s XEL-1 OLED TV where the size is just 11″. For OLED technology to become the next generation display technology after LCD and PDP, it will need to overcome the size barrier and fast.
DuPont Electronic & Communication Technology’s Group Vice President, David B. Miller, has an ambitious goal of reducing the cost of manufacturing OLED displays to below LCDs by teaming up with Dainippon Screen and its integrated coating and printing technology. Dainippon’s printing technology fabricates OLED displays from solutions and has the potential to significantly reduce the cost of OLED manufacturing. DuPont’s small molecule-based OLED materials and process technology combined with Dainippon’s nozzle printing technology can enhance accuracy and speed in manufacturing OLEDs. The two companies have been working together over the past three years to jointly develop nozzle printers as an efficient method for printing OLED displays from solution. The first production scale printer is currently being constructed.
There seems to be a lot of R&D activity attempting to overcome the challenges of OLED. Sony was first to bring forth a mass produced OLED TV with its XEL-1. However, there are still considerable challenges ahead. DisplaySearch did some preliminary testing on the OLED TV regarding OLED aging and found that there was significant differential aging and that the expected lifetime of the XEL-1 that was rated at 30,000 hours might be over-rated by as much as 13,000 hours. And with a price of $2500 for a 11″ unit, it is currently very fair from being price competitive with LCDs.
[tags]DuPont, Dainippon Screen, OLED, Organic Light Emitting Diode, Nozzle Printing, Small Molecule OLED, Sony, XEL-1, OLED TV[/tags]