Symposium First Looks
This year SID introduces a promising new special focus session track specifically for printed displays and electronics. Among the exciting work that will be described at the 2012 Symposium are the printing of organic TFTs and a new way to use high-temperature processes with low-temperature substrates.
by Jenny Donelan
Recent advances in the area of printed displays and electronics have created the potential for lightweight, low-cost, and flexible devices based on technologies such as TFT, organic light-emitting diode (OLED), and organic photovoltaic (OPV). RFID tags are probably the most talked-about printed-electronics application, with entire conferences focusing on RFIDs and related applications. Printed displays, according to SID 2012 Program Chair Norbert Fruehauf, have not received as much attention, which is partly why they have been added to this year's Special Focus lineup for the symposium. "We wanted to address a part of the spectrum that is not typically covered," says Fruehauf, a professor at the University of Stuttgart in Germany. "This is potentially a sizeable new market for displays," he says. And if some of the future applications, such as ultra-low-cost displays for packaging, are simple, determining how to manufacture them cost effectively is not.
Two symposium sessions will be devoted to Printed Displays and Electronics this year. While the featured papers cover a broad range of topics, a recurring theme is that of printing organic TFTs, according to ITRI's Janglin Chen, Chair of the Printed Displays and Electronics Special Focus group. Organic TFTs (OTFTs) are a particularly strong candidate for flexible displays because they can be produced on plastic substrates through printing technologies. Two papers on this topic are "Printing Technologies for Organic TFT Array for Electronic Paper" by Ryohei Matsubara of Toppan Printing Company and "Printable Organic Thin-Film-Transistor Backplanes for Mass Produced Displays" by Mark James from Merck Chemicals, Ltd.
Another presentation of note includes the invited paper, "Broad Implications Arising from Novel Sintering Process and Conductive Inks for Printed Electronics" from Stan Farnsworth of NovaCentrix, which offers photonic sintering as a solution to the problem with high-temperature curing processes that need to be employed with low-temperature substrates. "Photonic curing has been shown to be effective in heating inks and functional films to very high temperatures, in excess of 500°C, on low-temperature substrates such as polymers and paper," writes the author. This paper also reviews the basic principles of the technology as well as the implications with regard to applications, materials, cost, and performance.
Another paper of note is titled "Color filters on a flexible glass substrate fabricated in roll-to-roll processes" by Takayoshi Nirengi from Dai Nippon Printing. The key aspect of this innovation involves process innovations that keep the thin flexible glass substrate material from cracking or breaking while being conveyed through the rollers. The results may seem evolutionary rather than revolutionary, but this is yet another very important step in the process to reach commercialization of flexible-display manufacturing.
According to Fruehauf, companies in both Europe and the U.S. are working on printed-display applications ranging from electrochromic materials on a substrate to printable OLEDs to product labels that are actually displays. While printed displays are not yet on the market, "It is obvious that they're coming," says Fruehauf. The Printed Displays and Electronics sessions at Display Week will offer a unique look ahead at that future market.
At Display Week 2012, the Society for Information Display is providing a new forum for live demonstrations of emerging information-display technologies and related areas. This new exhibit platform is called the "Innovation Zone" (I-Zone) and will take place in the main Exhibit Hall, under the sponsorship of E Ink Holdings, on June 5 and 6 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center in Boston, Massachusetts.
"Display Week has always been the best place for companies to exhibit their display products," says Jerzy Kanicki, Chairman of SID's I-Zone Committee. "The missing piece has been a platform concentrated in one area for small companies, labs, institutes, and other research entities with limited funding to exhibit the very newest display technology." The I-Zone will allow researchers to demonstrate their prototypes or other hardware demo units for two days free of charge at the premier display exhibition in North America. This new platform will also enable attendees to view best-in-class emerging information-display technologies in a dedicated area on the show floor. Access to free exhibition space encourages participation by small companies, startups, universities, government labs, and independent research labs. The I-Zone will make Display Week an even more exciting and relevant show, says Kanicki, noting "Some of this year's exhibits will showcase cutting-edge demos and prototypes that will power the products of tomorrow."
Proposals to demonstrate new displays, input technologies, and innovations in related fields such as solid-state lighting, flexible organic electronics, and bio-inspired electronics are currently being solicited by the I-Zone selection committee. Technologies should be in the pre-product stage, and demos that are being shown for the first time in a public forum are particularly encouraged.
The I-Zone selection committee will evaluate submissions and select the strongest proposals to receive free space within the I-Zone. Submissions are due by Monday, April 2, 2012, and anyone interested should visit http://www.sid.org/AboutSID/Awards.aspx for more details. To submit a proposal please visit http://www.cloznet.com/pcm/ sidi3d/sidi3d.cfm
As an added incentive, at Display Week 2012, the I-Zone committee will select and announce a winner of the "Best Prototype at Display Week." The winning technology will also be featured in ID magazine. •