The Flexible Display Center (FDC) at Arizona State University and Universal Display Corporation announced that they have successfully fabricated the first full-color, flexible active matrix organic light emitting diode (AMOLED) display prototypes using the Center's bond/de-bond manufacturing process, in combination with Universal Display's full-color, top-emission phosphorescent OLED technology and materials. The displays also use Universal Display's patented, proprietary single-layer encapsulation technology to seal the OLEDs made on DuPont Teijin Films Teonex polyester film. Successful fabrication of the displays involved incorporating materials and technologies concurrently developed by several additional members of the FDC's 30-member industrial consortium.
Funded by the U.S. Army, the FDC is developing the full-color, flexible OLED displays for use in thin, lightweight, bendable and unbreakable devices capable of displaying full-color full-motion video. The lower power consumption of Universal Display's phosphorescent OLEDs compared to other full-color video display technologies is an important advantage for ultralight soldier-portable devices, and a range of OLED display products based on this technology are already in the marketplace.
A key enabler of the flexible displays announced today is Universal Display's recently introduced single-layer encapsulation technology that was designed for plastic substrate systems and thin-film devices, including flexible OLED displays. The encapsulation layer provides an effective barrier to protect thin film devices from environmental conditions, such as moisture and oxygen, which is critical for the long-term performance of OLED displays. Using environmentally benign and non-toxic materials in a potentially low-cost process, the barrier film technology has demonstrated its suitability for high-performance, flexible plastic substrate systems in these new AMOLED displays.
"Demonstrating the first flexible color phosphorescent AMOLED display that integrates Universal Display's encapsulation technology with the FDC's bond/de-bond manufacturing process represents a tremendous step forward in the advancement of flexible OLED displays," says Mike Hack, general manager OLED Lighting and Custom Displays, vice president of Universal Display and a member of the FDC Board of Governors. "In addition to working toward the targets set by the U.S. Department of Defense, flexible OLEDs have the potential to open up a vast array of product opportunities in the commercial and consumer sectors in the foreseeable future."
The displays are in a 3.8-inch diagonal QVGA format (320x240 pixels) and use Universal Display's phosphorescent red, green and blue OLED materials, which have already been proven to significantly reduce power consumption in numerous glass-based AMOLED products. The displays use an active matrix array of thin film transistors fabricated on DuPont Teijin Films Teonex film using substrate handling and processing technologies developed at the FDC. Versions using transistors made with both low-temperature amorphous silicon and higher performance indium-gallium-zinc-oxide have been produced."The combined effort with Universal Display and our other industry partners to successfully produce flexible, full-color AMOLED displays validates our bond/de-bond manufacturing technology," says Nick Colaneri, Director of the FDC. "The display industry is actively evaluating a variety of approaches to handling flexible plastic substrates in conventional manufacturing equipment, which is a critical step towards enabling the mass production of flexible displays. The FDC's bond/de-bond process with re-usable carriers adds minimal incremental cost, allows the use of a variety of high-performance plastic substrate materials, and has been proven up to Gen II scale at the FDC's pilot line, making it a leading candidate production technique as flexible electronics continue to evolve."