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FlexEnable, Merck bring shatterproof plastic displays

Posted: 13 Feb 2015     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Plastic LCD 

Flexible organic electronics maker FlexEnable teamed up with Merck, a maker of liquid crystals and organic electronic materials, to bring glass-free LCD to the market. During the collaboration, a plastic LCD has been developed which is completely free of glass, instead using organic transistors on a plastic sheet, offering multiple benefits. Plastic LCDs have the potential of making products 10 times thinner, more than 10 times lighter and cheaper than conventional glass-based displays, all while delivering differentiating product benefits of being shatterproof and even conformal.

The demonstrator was developed in a very short timeframe, and combines the key benefits of organic transistor technology (OTFT), including superior quality and yield. Ultimately, it shows a route to low-cost solutions for volume manufacturing with LCDs, the dominant display technology in the market today. FlexEnable has now demonstrated the world's first plastic LCD with active-matrix in-plane switching (IPS). It uses FlexEnable's OTFT array as well as liquid crystal (LC) and organic semiconductor materials from Merck. While the first demonstrator employs an IPS mode, this concept will be equally attractive for many other LC modes and applications such as e-readers, dynamic public signage and advertising.

Indro Mukerjee, Chairman of FlexEnable, acknowledged the relevance of the new development, adding, "To achieve this within just months rather than years is a testament to the depth of understanding and IP we have across our toolkit of industrially proven processes. Plastic LCDs bring clear benefits where weight and thickness is key, including volume consumer and industrial markets. It also offers a route to simpler, lower cost device stacks for display makers."

In addition to Merck and FlexEnable, other project partners who worked on this achievement include display technology experts from the Institute for Large Area Microelectronics at the University of Stuttgart (Germany), plastic film supplier LOFO High Tech Film, (Germany), specialised resist supplier micro resist technology, (Germany), and backlight supplier Etkes and Sons (Israel); co-funded by the seventh Framework Program of the European Union.

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