Onward to Display Week

Onward to Display Week

by Stephen P. Atwood

It’s hard to believe we’re here again, just a couple months away from Display Week 2017. This year, the big show is in sunny and warm Los Angeles beginning on May 21 and spanning the entire week with short courses, seminars, business and market focus conferences, the International Symposium, some great keynotes, and the world-class Display Week Exhibition. I’ll have more to say about this later on but if you have not yet made your plans to visit, you should! I’m sure by the time you read this, the winter rains will have ended and the southern California landscape will be vivid, bold, and as welcoming as ever.

Our cover story this month celebrates the SID 2017 Honors and Awards, which are presented each year by the Society for Information Display to honor those individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the field of displays. Here at ID we do our best to capture the essence of their achievements in the biographies and citations thoughtfully compiled by our own Jenny Donelan. But nothing we write can come close to documenting the lifetimes’ worth of ideas, challenges, setbacks, inspirations, and successes that these individuals have experienced on behalf of our industry.

As Jenny describes in this year’s article, great innovation often comes from teamwork and collaboration, where new ideas are born and get distilled through a process of collaboration, either intentional or accidental. Inspiration can come from the team in your midst, or from the wider world (such as conferences like Display Week), which these days also includes the incredible on-line community that we all interact with. Inspiration can come from students, teachers, business leaders, peers, or even from a fortuitous invitation to speak at an SID meeting, as happened to one of this year’s award winners some time ago. Regardless of the source, it’s what people do with that inspiration that counts, and this year’s award winners have all made great contributions to the world of displays, either through direct invention or through enthusiastic teaching, mentoring, and supporting of those around them! While the honors are being bestowed on these leaders of the display industry, the real honor goes to those of us who have had the privilege of knowing them, working with them, learning from them, and using their innovations to build better products that enrich people’s lives.

Among those being recognized this year is one individual I have had the privilege to know personally and who is a former editor of Information Display magazine. Ken Werner was a caring and thoughtful steward of this publication when I first met him and through the years he has been a trusted advisor to me on many issues. Ken continues to be a strong supporter of SID and ID magazine, sharing his writing talents with us on numerous occasions (including this issue), frequently speaking at SID events and organizing conferences, and being a leading consultant to our great industry. His recognition, as well as that of all the others, is well deserved and we say congratulations to all the honorees!

Display Materials

Our technical theme for this month is Display Materials, and it was developed masterfully by our returning Guest Editor Ion Bita. To get a good introduction to both the latest developments in this field and the articles covering materials in this issue, I encourage you to start with Ion’s Guest Editor’s note titled “Advances in Materials for Display Applications.” If this is an area of interest for you, then this will be your year at the Symposium, with almost 40 presentations in the Display Materials and Processes tracks alone. Many more papers related to materials appear in other tracks as well. One of the hottest topics is self-emitting nano-materials such as quantum dots (QDs), which we have heard about before, and perovskites, which are much newer to most of us.

In our first Frontline Technology article, “Emerging Solution-Processable Luminescent Nanomaterials in Hybrid Structures Offer New Solutions for Displays and Lighting,” authors Yajie Dong, Hao Chen, Juan He, and Shin-Tson Wu explain the state of the art for QDs, provide a detailed explanation of similar emerging optoelectronic materials utilizing the perovskite structure, and describe all the challenges of incorporating these materials into working light-emitting systems. One of the really clever things I learned from this article was about the authors’ efforts to utilize the natural expansion and contraction properties of polymer films to encapsulate perovskites. Essentially, they describe a process by which solvents infused with perovskites are introduced to expand the molecular structure of a polymer film. Once the film expands, the solvent, including the perovskites, becomes embedded in the film. As the solvent is then evaporated away, the polymer matrix returns to its normal size and forms a coherent barrier layer around the remaining perovskite structures. Imagine: You simply expand the film, infuse it with the emitting nano-material, and let it dry out. You are left with a self-infused perovskite film providing all the needed environmental protections for the nano-material. It sounds so simple. I wish I had thought of it!

Another hot topic in this field is called thermally activated delayed fluorescence (TADF), and it represents a way to achieve blue emitters in OLED displays with virtually 100% potential efficiency from electrical energy to light-energy conversion. Today, as we know, OLEDs make blue-light energy using fluorescent materials that are capable of only 25% efficiency. Red and green light can be made from phosphorescent materials with 100% efficiency, but those materials are not sufficient for blue emission, hence the need and opportunity for TADF technology. In his
article, “Thermally Activated Delayed Fluorescence Is a Key New Technology for OLED Displays,” author Daniel Volz describes the challenges in today’s OLED materials, the science behind TADF materials, and the opportunities, including what we might expect to see in the near future. I’ve been reading and following the OLED field for virtually my entire career and it fascinates me how much more work is still ahead of us despite how far we have come. This is another step in what will undoubtedly be an area of intensive activity and interest for years to come.

Symposium Preview

Turning our attention now to the other major theme for this issue, the preview of the annual technical program known as the International Symposium at Display Week 2017, it’s worth noting that the industry must love to come to Los Angeles because once again the program committee saw over 700 abstracts submitted for consideration for one of the 311 oral and 240 poster presentation slots available. I like to cite the numbers because it provides a context to the scale and depth of the event, which in fact is just one part of the overall Display Week program. If you are looking for proof that innovations are plentiful in the world of displays, this will certainly do it. Aside from the sheer numbers, the rich array of technical focus areas such as AR/VR, Digital Signage, Display Materials and Processes, and Wearables will surely make for one of the most exciting symposiums ever. Starting with the seminars on Sunday, May 21, this year will pack more technical and business content into one week than any other display-industry event in the world.

To start planning your visit, consult the Display Week web site www.displayweek.org/2017/Attendee.aspx to register, then sit back and enjoy our Symposium Preview, “AR/VR, Digital Signage, Display Materials, and Wearables Headline Display Week 2017 Technical Program in Los Angeles,” compiled by Jenny Donelan. I believe my favorite sessions may turn out to be those focused on digital signage and high dynamic range displays, or maybe the flexible and stretchable electronic fabrics being discussed in the wearables sessions, or maybe the great papers we accepted this year for the display metrology tracks, including the next generation of the ICDM measurement standards, or maybe…. Well, you get the idea. The exciting topics and in-depth technical content is un-matched anywhere else. (Don’t forget to check out the handy “Display Week Overview” and “Symposium at a Glance” pages in the preview article.)

Displays at CES

CES is the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, which features the latest in actual products, including all manner of TVs, portable devices, wearables, and everything else you can think of that might use a display. CES is an important barometer for our industry and it’s hard to find any major technical focus area that does not ultimately lead to a consumer application in some way. If you want to make a business in displays, you will almost always need to find a commercial consumer and know what their un-met needs are. CES is one of those annual events that provides that context. But even if you didn’t get there don’t worry – ID has your back! Ken Werner was onsite, and he did the hard work for all of us by compiling what he calls “The 11 Best Display-Related Finds at CES 2017” in his Show Review article. One of the notable things this year is something that I have predicted before: Once the display gets really good, the exciting story becomes one about the products that it enables instead. As Ken says in the beginning of his article “…displays were [more] important as enabling components in larger systems, notably automotive Human-Machine Interfaces (HMIs), Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS), and autonomous vehicles.” So, what were Ken’s notable 11 things? Well, read the article and enjoy finding out.

Q&A with IRYStec

Two years ago at the I-Zone exhibit, I was introduced to a very talented young woman named Tara Akhavan, who, along with her equally talented business partner Afsoon Soudi, were showing a new technology they were working on to dynamically enhance the visual performance of displays under varying ambient lighting conditions. I say “dynamically” because in the past we’ve generally been able to manually adjust things like color temperature, contrast, luminance, etc. for varying conditions. In some cases, manufacturers have also included ambient light sensors for dynamic backlight and contrast adjustments. However, what Tara and Afsoon have done is taken a careful look at how the human visual system works, and developed algorithms that produce a consistent visual experience under widely varying ambient conditions. Their approach does this in real-time, so as you walk from inside your office to outside for your lunch break, your phone or tablet display should look the same to you. They even provide for a calibration to match your individual visual preferences, which is great, because the response of my 55-year old-eyes is very different from that of the eyes of my adult children. We wanted to know how this innovation was coming along and we were also curious about their experiences as women entrepreneurs in the display field, so we reached out to them at their company, called IRYStec, for an interview that you can find in this issue, “Q&A with IRYStec,” by Jenny Donelan. I think you will enjoy learning about their progress and reading their candid observations about their experiences.

I hope you enjoy this issue as much as we enjoyed putting it together. Display Week is just around the corner – start planning!  •