The Future Awaits and SID Can Be Your Guide

by Stephen Atwood

Welcome to the March/April 2013 issue of Information Display magazine.  Last-minute preparations are well under way for the 50th annual SID Display Week event in Vancouver.  With all the excitement around OLED technology, we could not have predicted a better convergence of topics for this issue:  OLED and Oxide-TFT technology, the SID Symposium preview, and our cover story on the SID Honors & Awards recipients for 2013.  It’s one of the biggest issues we have ever produced and with our new bi-monthly schedule we wanted to make sure you had plenty to read between now and Display Week.

As I worked on this issue and also attended some recent SID activities, it occurred to me that this may be the best time ever to be an SID member.  Not only is there an amazing array of new technology innovations going on in our industry, but the opportunities to learn about those innovations through the resources available to members have never been better.  For example, the SID on-line webinar program is now gaining traction with almost a dozen recent additions covering topics such as 3-D stereoscopic displays, oxide TFTs, user interfaces (UIs), and the latest advances in LCD technology.  These presentations come from some of the most widely respected experts in the field and are available online only to SID members.

Also in this issue you can read about the recent San Francisco Bay Area chapter conference on display technologies for the future.  These types of local programs are loaded with presentations by the highest caliber of technology experts and are available to all SID members.  They provide invaluable opportunities to make new contacts and leverage the knowledge base of the industry for your own company’s benefit.

You can also read about the upcoming papers being presented at the SID Symposium as part of Display Week 2013.  If you are not sure about becoming a member, plan on coming to Vancouver and taking in the papers and exhibitions.  Spend the next year exploring what your new membership can do for you and I’m certain you will become a believer like me.

Our cover story this month is about the SID 2013 Honors and Awards, recognizing the many achievements of those who have invested so much of their careers to furthering the field of displays.  As I have written previously, while the honors are being bestowed on them, the real honor is to those of us who have the privilege of knowing them, working with them, learning from them, and using their innovations to build better products that enrich people’s lives.  Each year we do our best to capture their achievements in the biographies and citations thoughtfully compiled by our own Jenny Donelan.  But nothing we write can come close to documenting a lifetime’s worth of ideas, challenges, setbacks, inspirations, and successes that these individuals have given to our industry.  All I can say is that in those moments when you look at a great new product or technology, take a moment to reflect on all the human effort that has probably gone into making the “overnight success” happen.  Great innovation never really happens overnight and so much of the technology that we take for granted today was built layer upon layer, almost like a brick wall, with each new advancement leveraging the achievements of the previous level for its support.  I’m sure you, as you read this story, will come away with something from the award recipients’ lives and work you can relate to.  Take the time to reach out to them and say “Congratulations and Thank You” for everything they have achieved.

Our lineup of technical articles was developed for us by our two outstanding guest editors this month. The OLED articles were solicited by H. K. Chung, who led Samsung’s OLED R&D for over 10 years and now is Chair Professor at Sungkyunkwan University.  You can read his Guest Editor’s note to see what his thoughts are for the future of OLED TVs and related developments.  Our first Frontline Technology article comes from author Jang Hyuk Kwon from the Department of Information Display, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Korea.  All color flat-panel displays utilize some form of color subpixel matrix to produce mixed colors and Dr. Kwon describes the prevailing methods for patterning the color filters and/or emitters for those subpixels in his work titled “RGB Color Patterning for AMOLED TVs.”

Next, we have our second Frontline Technology feature titled “Oxide TFTs for AMOLED TVs” by author Jin-Seong Park, a professor at Hanyang University.  Dr. Park explains the reasons why oxide TFTs are so potentially important for OLED TVs, as well as the current state of the art and some of the remaining hurdles in the way of mass-producing oxide-TFT backplanes.  Oxide TFTs have turned out to be one of the big stories thus far this year, especially when linked to the future of OLED displays.  Guest Editor Dr. Arokia Nathan brought us a great article by Yan Ye from Applied Materials describing the underlying physics and properties of oxide TFTs.  In his article, “Zinc Oxynitride TFT: Toward a New High-Mobility Low-Cost Thin-film Semiconductor,” we learn much about the different types of possible oxide compounds that are candidates for TFTs and why the amorphous state is actually better for mobility than the polycrystalline state.  This is a very detailed article that really filled in the blanks for me about the current state and future potential of this technology.

In this issue’s Display Marketplace feature titled “AMOLED Production: Entering a New Era” contributing editor Paul Semenza has put a great deal of effort into detailing the current state of AMOLED manufacturing, the varying pixel architecture approaches companies are pursuing, and the likely forward paths these same companies will follow.  Paul is not afraid to name names, and both his industry insight and technical understanding are widely respected for their accuracy.  Needless to say, oxide-TFT technology plays a large role in his view of the future.

One application that Paul believes creates a unique opportunity for OLED technology is flexible displays, and so we asked another frequent contributor, Dr. Jason Heikenfeld, Associate Professor at the University of Cincinnati, to look at the state of the art in flexible displays for our Enabling Technology feature that Jason decided to call “Flexing and Stretching.”  Looking back as well as looking forward, Jason shows us where the most promising work is happening, the key opportunities for future innovation, and also names companies to point out specific embodiments of each key infrastructure component.  From Jason’s description, which will also likely be updated at his seminar at Display Week in May, it’s clear organic electronics, specifically OLEDs, will play a major role in the future of flexible displays.

There were a lot of headlines from this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, including a dazzling keynote by Samsung incorporating a new phone concept presented by our own SID President Brian Berkeley.  If you were not one of the reported 150,000 people who were there, worry not, because we asked industry reporter Steve Sechrist to give us “Alpha and Omega: Most Exciting Display Technologies at CES.”  Not surprising, if you have been following our recent issues of ID, was that the major themes were ultra-high-definition (UHD) TV, OLEDs, oxide TFTs, 3-D, and even transparent LCDs, which I think have a lot more potential than others may recognize.  In any case, there is plenty for everyone to get excited about in this show review from Steve.

And so, with this issue finally complete and ready for your enjoyment, I hope I’ll see all of you in Vancouver in less than 2 months from now.  I want to thank our tireless staff, our guest editors, and all our authors for their dedicated work on this and every issue.  •