Show Review

Best in Show Winners

Best in Show Winners

The Society for Information Display honored four exhibiting companies with Best in Show awards at Display Week 2018 in Los Angeles: Ares Materials, AU Optronics, Tianma, and Visionox.

by Jenny Donelan

SMALL displays and small materials were big news at Display Week this year. There were, of course, big, beautiful panels on the 2018 show floor, but it was the smaller mobile displays and microLEDs (µLEDs) and miniLEDs that really captured the attention of the SID awards committee. Each of the four 2018 Best in Show winners was honored for a technology related to mobile devices.

At 8 inches diagonal, AUO’s winning panel made of µLEDs 30 micrometers “big” was the largest at the show to feature the new and promising emissive µLED technology. Tianma won for an LCD less than 7 inches that was backlit with microLEDs. Visionox earned its Best in Show award for a 7.2-in. flexible, bendable OLED panel and the way the company showed off what you might be able to do with the technology – bendable e-books as well as cups, speakers, and other items. In thehumble-but-essential category of adhesives, Ares Materials won a Best in Show award for its new mechanical lift-off technology that promises to improve yields for the OLED smartphone industry.

This year’s four Best in Show winners were selected from more than 200 exhibitors. Awards, determined by the awards committee the evening after the first day of the exhibition, were presented in three categories by exhibit size: small, medium, and large. We salute these winners and hope you enjoy reading about them.

Small Exhibit Winner

Ares Materials received a Best in Show award in the small exhibit category for its mechanical lift-off technology. Ares, an optoelectronic materials design company based in Texas, launched the new material used in the lift-off process under the name of Easybond (Fig. 1). This material is designed to temporarily bond a flexible substrate to a carrier to enable microfabrication on the substrate. The substrate can then be released from the carrier using a simple, mechanical peel process. Easybond is designed specifically for attaching a polymer substrate to a carrier in order to build on thin film transistors (TFTs) to create color filters and touch panels for displays. The major target market is flexible OLED panels used for major smartphone brands. The material provides a high surface energy for improved wettability and is compatible with high-temperature processing in excess of 500°C. Mechanical peel of the display module can be done with forces below < 5 cN/cm.

Fig. 1:  Easybond (far left) is an adhesive material that bonds a substrate to a carrier for fabrication, then allows the substrate to be easily peeled from the carrier, as shown from left to right. Photos: Ares Materials

A major benefit of the Ares process is that it enables manufacturers to use their current microfabrication processes for flexible substrates. They can, for example, continue to use polyimide or Pylux (a polysulfide thermoset film also made by Ares), eliminating the need to purchase additional equipment or to implement new micropatterns and setups.

Medium Exhibit Winner

AU Optronics received a Best in Show award in the medium exhibit category for its multiple advanced display technologies, including µLEDs. The latter product category was represented by a full-color, TFT-driven, high-dynamic range (HDR) 8-in. µLED display, which debuted on the exhibit floor at Display Week 2018 (Fig. 2). AUO’s µLED technology employs a LTPS-TFT backplane, which allows each pixel to be lit independently to realize more refined images with high dynamic range and power saving. AUO achieved a 169-ppi density with µLEDs that were less than 30 micrometers in size.

Fig. 2:  AUO’s 8-in. microLED display featured 169-ppi resolution. Photo: AUO

AUO also demonstrated a suite of new miniLED-backlit LCD panels with high luminance and high dynamic range that are designed for gaming monitors and notebooks as well as virtual reality headset applications. And it highlighted its LTPS technology with several displays for mobile devices, including a 13.3-in. ultra-high definition (UHD) 4K narrow-border LTPS LCD that supported the use of a stylus. Exhibition highlights also included a 13.2-in. freeform car display with gate circuit-in-active (CIA) area and a 13-in. transparent AMOLED display.

Large Exhibit Winners

Tianma received a Best in Show award in the large exhibit category for its HDR LCD for mobile applications. Tianma’s 6.46-in. panel, based on LTPS technology, is a WQHD full-screen display for smartphones, with a resolution of 498 ppi (Fig. 3). The display uses miniLED backlight technology to achieve multi-zone local dimming. The display offers excellent performance for smartphones, with peak luminance above 1,000 nits and maximum local contrast greater than 3,000,000:1. The display also features 10-bit gray-code signal input and output with DCI-P3 color gamut. The company says that the prototype performs competitively with AMOLED displays in terms of contrast ratio, response time, resolution, and luminance. The display is scheduled for production by the end of 2019.

Fig. 3:  Tianma’s 1,440 × 2,880 resolution HDR LCD for mobile applications (left) is compared side by side to a “normal” LCD of comparable size with 1,080 × 2,160 resolution. Photos: Tianma

Visionox received a Best in Show award in the large exhibit category for its multiple innovative applications using flexible OLED displays. At Display Week, Visionox was showing its flexible and foldable AMOLED technology in a number of formats, including a 7.2-in. panel that can achieve a 1.6-mm folding radius. Visionox’s flexible AMOLED display panels also offer high contrast ratio, wide color gamut, and wide viewing angles. In its booth at Display Week, Visionox was also showing new display application concepts for flexible AMOLEDs, such as a smart cup, a smart speaker, and an e-Book (Fig. 4). Visionox says it created these novel display application demonstrations in part to validate its own technology, but also to bolster the display industry ecosystem by suggesting new kinds of applications.  •

Fig. 4:  In its booth at Display Week, Visionox showed examples of different applications for its flexible AMOLED panels, including a speaker. Photo: Visionox


Jenny Donelan is the editor in chief of Information Display magazine. She can be reached at jdonelan@pcm411.com.