Compiled by Jenny Donelan
THIS YEAR’S Display Industry Award winners (products that were commercially available in 2012) particularly exemplify the idea that it’s what’s inside that counts. Everyone knows that we judge the quality of displays primarily by what we see (though interactivity has become important as well). Yet, this year’s achievements are characterized as much by what you don’t see that makes them better displays.
A case in point is Sharp and SEL’s IGZO technology, in which oxide semiconductors have been used to create a smartphone with exceptional battery life, high resolution, and touch capability. The result is a quality display you can enjoy much longer without running for the nearest electrical outlet. Another winner from Sharp uses nanotech-nology inspired by the structure of a moth’s eye to create a display that suppresses the reflection of ambient light and provides deeper blacks. QD Vision’s light-emitting semiconductor nanocrystal products enable LCDs to achieve wider color gamuts than ever before. The Retina Display in Apple’s latest iPad manages to fit 3 million pixels into a small area, producing a viewing experience that truly rivals printed paper and photo-graphs. Nokia’s Lumia 920 smartphone uses overdriving to create a display that is just plain fast. You can’t actually see all the magic behind these devices, but it vastly improves the experience of using them in myriad ways.
There is one winner this year that turns heads even when it’s off (though we suggest you turn it on): the 110-in. LCD TV from Shenzhen China Star Optoelectronics Company. As you can see in the photograph of this TV later on in this article, it’s bigger than the person standing next to it.
According to Display Industry Awards Chair Robert Melcher, “The 2013 SID Display Industry Awards demonstrate the diversity of great achievements over the past
year, and the results of ongoing investments into new R&D activities.”
One of the exciting aspects of the display industry is that the underlying technology keeps evolving, even when we thought we might have reached a plateau. Please join us in saluting this year’s inspiring Display Industry Award winners.
Display of the Year
This award is granted for a display with novel and outstanding features such as new physical or chemical effects, or a new addressing method.
Gold Award: Sharp and Semiconductor Energy Laboratory for Sharp’s IGZO LCD as used in the AQUOS PHONE ZETA SH-02E
The scope of connected applications for handheld devices is ever growing, as is the demand for information devices such as smartphones that enable us to see an enormous amount of rich content anytime, anywhere. The penalty we pay for this great performance has traditionally involved high-power demands and short battery life. In an effort to alleviate the need for this tradeoff, Sharp Corporation and Semiconductor Energy Laboratory (SEL) jointly developed a new IGZO technology that imparts crystallinity in an oxide semiconductor composed of indium (In), gallium (Ga), and zinc (Zn). This IGZO enables a display with both high resolution and ultra-low power consumption, characteristics that have in the past needed to be balanced against each other. In addition, the IGZO incorporates a touch panel, and represents the first time an IGZO panel has been integrated into a smartphone.
Sharp and SEL succeeded in aligning the crystallizing IGZO layer in the c-axial direction, which results in higher reliability of the device, in addition to enabling higher definition, lower power consumption (1/5–1/10), and high performance of the touch panel due to miniaturization and high performance of the thin-film transistor. The AQUOS PHONE ZETA SH-02E from Sharp can be used for 2 days without charging batteries because of its low power consumption and can be used 4.8 times longer than conventional units when displaying a static image, thanks to the IGZO. Improved recognition accuracy and response speed of the touch panel enable a
better user interface as well. Pen input is also supported.
IGZO can also be applied to other, larger displays such as monitors, TVs, etc., since it corresponds to the same manufacturing processes of large motherglass
substrates equivalent to a-Si. It can also be applied to displays other than LCDs; for example, organic electroluminescent displays. IGZO will also enable development of applications for non-display uses such as sensing devices. Sharp and SEL researchers believe that IGZO will become the core technology of displays in the future.
Silver Award: Shenzhen China Star’s 110-in. 4K x 2K 3-D TFT-LCD TV
Shenzhen China Star Optoelectronics Technology Co., Ltd. (CSOT ) has successfully developed a 110-in. LCD TV that is the largest of its kind in the world. The 110-in. TFT-LCD integrates many innovations in LCD technology. It has a reported dynamic ratio of 50000:1, an ultra-high brightness of 1000 nits while consuming less than 1100 W, and highly saturated color reproduction with a color gamut of about 92% of NTSC. Moreover, through the effective use of shutter glasses technology in 3-D mode, the left to right eye crosstalk ratio is less than 2.5%.
CSOT’s goal was to develop an attractive display with an extraordinary visual quality that would enable entertainment applications such as gaming, movie, and
multi-user communication. Such a TV will play an important role in bringing families together. Accordingly, the company wanted to develop a TV with a large LCD panel, high resolution, and 3-D functionality.
The 110-in. LCD was designed and fabricated in CSOT’s Gen 8.5 facility. To meet the above visual reality and entertainment requirements, 4K × 2K resolution (3840 × 2160) and shutter glasses 3-D functionality were implemented. During development, the major challenges were panel uniformity, power
consumption, visual quality, and the creation of an electric and optical and mechanical (OM) system for the ultra-high-definition LCD.
It is well-known that large-sized LCDs can suffer from a lack of panel uniformity when resolution and frame rate are upgraded for playing films or pictures. In order to suppress mura and to enhance panel uniformity, CSOT improved its manufacturing processes in several ways. High transmittance technology, high transmittance vertical alignment (HVA), and local dimming with a 288-area LED backlight were utilized to reduce power dissipation. To support the 3-D mode with 120 Hz, fine stereo performance (FSP) technology was implemented in the driving system, which greatly improved both 2-D and 3-D quality. Since the ultra-high-definition interface is not mature in the market, the image-process system was assembled with an FPGA-base unit by CSOT. This 110-in. panel can receive any format of 4K × 2K video and is compatible with commercial transmission interfaces such as HDMI and DP. In addition, the large-sized panel accommodates the entire viewing angle of the human eye.
Besides the TV application, this 110-in. TFT-LCD can be used for advertisements and educational and office displays. Another area of focus for the company is to replace the LED boards commonly found in public-information-display (PID) systems with a much more colorful, complex, and detailed messaging medium afforded by this new development.
DISPLAY OF THE YEAR
Gold Award: Sharp and Semiconductor Energy Laboratory’s IGZO LCD as used in the Sharp AQUOS PHONE ZETA SH-02E enables a display with high resolution, ultra-low power consumption, and touch.
Silver Award: Shenzhen China Star’s 110-in. 4K × 2K 3-D TFT-LCD TV is the largest of its kind in the world.
Display Component of the Year
This award is granted for a novel component that has significantly enhanced the performance of a display. A component is sold as a separate part destined to be incorporated into a display. A component may also include display-enhancing materials and/or parts fabricated with new processes.
Gold Award: QD Vision’s Color IQ Optical Component
Color IQ optical components are advanced light-emitting semiconductor nanocrystal products developed by QD Vision, Inc. They are the first product to utilize quantum dots for commercial displays. These breakthrough components enable LCDs such as TVs, monitors, and all-in-one computers to achieve significantly wider color gamut with a far more natural and vivid viewing experience than that of conventional white LED systems. While most LCDs offer color quality that might reach 60–70% of the 1953 NTSC standard, LCD products utilizing Color IQ optical components can achieve 100% of the NTSC, Adobe, and sRGB color performance standards.
Designed as a drop-in solution, Color IQ optical components may be easily integrated into conventional side-illumination LCD backlight systems. The components are delivered as a fully packaged, sealed solution, made of a glass optical tube containing red and green quantum dots (QDs) that are combined, tuned, and optimized to achieve a customer-specified on-screen white point. Designed for very-high-volume LCD applications, Color IQ products deliver color performance meeting or exceeding that of OLED and direct-lit RGB LED systems, while maintaining the cost structure of side-illumination systems for mainstream LCD TVs. After a number of years in development, Color IQ optical components have been rigorously qualified and tested to meet the stringent product reliability and lifetime requirements of mainstream consumer-electronics applications.
Systems with Color IQ optical components use highly efficient blue LEDs instead of white LEDs as the excitation source that stimulates the optical component to emit red and green and transmit blue light. Color IQ optical components harness the unique light-emitting properties of a new class of nano-materials called quantum dots to emit narrow bandwidth light, which is ideal for LCD systems, delivering pure saturated colors to the front of screen. QDs allow for independent control of emission color and composition, with their nanoscale dimensions controlling the semiconductor bandgap. Their combination of efficiency, reliability, saturated emission, and color tunability are unmatched in any known material set.
Sony is the first major TV manufacturer to incorporate Color IQ optical components into a series of new 2013 model LCD televisions.
Silver Award: Sharp’s Moth-Eye Technology
Sharp’s AQUOS Quattron 3D XL9 LCD TVs use “moth-eye panels” to suppress the reflection of ambient light and to realize deep black imagery. Moth-Eye technology incorporates a nanoscale design that is inspired by the eyes of the common night-flying moth. These Moth-Eye panels help to emphasize Sharp’s “four primary colors technology,” which enhances the quality of color displays, and also helps make imagery visible even in a bright room. These sets (AQUOS Quattron 3D, XL9 series, including 80-, 70-, 60-, 52-and 46-in. models) have a high contrast ratio to the level of 100 million:1 and images composed of approximately 8.3 million subpixels.
Sharp Corporation succeeded in the first-ever mass production of Moth-Eye technology using a nano-imprint process incorporating a large-sized seamless drum stamper. In the field of the optical films, low-reflective (LR) films coated monolayer-on and anti-reflective (AR) films deposited multi-layer-on are popular. An LR film can be produced at a low cost, but does not provide a sufficiently low reflectance. An AR film can provide a low reflectance, but entails high costs for production. Therefore, there are strong demands to make both ends of optical properties and costs meet. The Moth-Eye technology is a solution because it has a single-layer film of UV curable acrylic resin on a base film, even though it works as a multi-layer film optically. A single-layer film has merits in terms of material and process costs. In the meantime, the drum stamper is also produced in a cost-effective and industrially easy way that utilizes a combination of anode oxidation and etching of aluminum. With this method, 100-nm-size structures are formed spontaneously in a large area by merely controlling anode oxidation voltage, rather than by an overly sensitive photolithography process that makes it difficult to achieve uniformity in a large area.
The biggest benefit obtained by Moth-Eye technology is that it provides users with clear and high-quality images in bright places both indoors and outdoors. In terms of power consumption, Moth-Eye technology can conserve electricity with no loss of image quality since it is not necessary to increase the brightness of the backlight as much as you would with a lower contrast panel. In the future, applications for Moth-Eye need not be limited to electronic displays. It can be used, for example, in the glass of a picture frame at a museum or for a showcase at a jewelry shop.
DISPLAY COMPONENT OF THE YEAR
Gold Award: QD Vision’s Color IQ optical component is the first product to utilize quantum dots for commercial displays.
Silver Award: Sharp’s Moth-Eye Technology uses a nanoscale design inspired by the eyes of common night-flying moths to suppress the reflection of ambient light and realize deep black imagery.
Display Application of the Year
This award is granted for a novel and outstanding application of a display, where the display itself is not necessarily a new device.
Gold Award: Apple’s iPad with Retina Display
By using an organic passivation technology for the first time in a 9.7-in. display with an amorphous-silicon TFT, Apple engineers and their technology partners were able to fit four times the number of pixels into the same 9.7-in. (diagonal) screen found on earlier iPad models. The resulting pixel density of the iPad Retina display – 264 ppi – makes text and graphics looks smooth and continuous at any size. This 2048 × 1536-pixel display has set a new standard for mobile-display resolution in a panel this size.
The third-generation iPad, as with each iPad since the original, uses technology called mobile in-plane switching (IPS) to achieve a viewing angle that has established the benchmark in the tablet category. It enables users to hold the iPad in almost any position they want and still see a high-fidelity image. The consistency of gamma over viewing angles provides an enhanced viewing experience to end users in consumer, business, and education applications; from web surfing, photo-sharing, and gaming to medical research, business analysis, and elementary and higher learning applications. The custom cell design is optimized for maximum transmittance, which, in combination with a custom driver IC and backlight, enables high resolution with industry-leading low power consumption.
Silver Award: Nokia Lumia 920
The Nokia Lumia 920 smartphone is known for innovative imaging, wireless charging, and advanced touch technology. The phone has a PureMotion HD+ screen that represents Nokia’s latest innovation to radically improve display capabilities. The PureMotion HD+ 4.5 in. 332-ppi screen offers crisper graphics and less
blurring while users are scrolling, navigating, and playing games. Nokia’s PureMotion technology addresses the inadequate moving-image quality of other
mobile displays, allowing it to better leverage the high-speed rendering capabilities of its internal graphics engine. One of the ways the Nokia Lumia 920 prevents blur on a screen is with a response time faster than 16.7 msec. On average, it takes about 9 msec for transitions on the screen of the Nokia Lumia 920. This phenomenal transition speed was achieved by boosting the voltage to each LCD pixel – overdriving the panel. With overdrive-enhanced LC response, PureMotion display pixels finish their transition well before the update of the next frame for any pixel needs to start, resulting in a less blurry image.
The Nokia Lumia 920 is the first Nokia smartphone to have a super-sensitive touch display that works with fingernails or even gloves. This new ability is the biggest leap forward for capacitive touch screens since multi-touch gestures were introduced. The technology is adaptive, reacting to any conductive object that is touching the screen. In practice, the screen will automatically adjust sensitivity to provide the best possible touch-screen experience, making touch usage faster, more natural, and accurate. Super-sensitive displays have also been featured in other Nokia Lumia smartphones like the Lumia 720 and 520.
The Nokia Lumia 920’s PureMotion display also introduces a new level of outdoor viewing experience in mobile displays. In addition to the very low reflectance, which largely improves dark tone rendering in ambient light, PureMotion adds high luminance mode for backlight LED-driving and image contrast enhancement, on top of superb optical stack design. Together they improve the overall contrast and therefore sunlight readability. In an extremely bright environment, the Nokia Lumia 920 PureMotion display takes advantage of its backlight luminance reserve and becomes the smartphone WXGA (1280 × 768) display with highest peak luminance. This high-luminance mode works automatically, based on the data received from an ambient-light sensor.
DISPLAY APPLICATION OF THE YEAR
Gold Award: Apple’s iPad with Retina Display fits 3 million pixels into a 9.7-in. display area, producing a viewing experience that rivals printed paper and photographs.
Silver Award: The Nokia Lumia 920 smartphone features innovative imaging with greatly reduced motion blur, wireless charging, and advanced touch technology.