Organic material from OLED-T has ten times carrier mobility9 June 2006
A material with 10 times the carrier mobility and three times the lifetime of existing electron transport layers used in organic light emitting diode (OLED) devices has been developed by UK start-up OLED-T.
The company said the material, known as E246, is a drop-in alternative to aluminium quinolate, which was developed by Kodak. “It reduces operating voltage and gives you a more saturated colour,” said Professor Poopathy Kathirgamanathan, chief technology officer of OLED-T.
The firm’s intellectual property, developed by Kathirgamanathan, is in ‘small molecule’ OLED materials much like those from Kodak, in contrast to large molecule polymer emitters such as those used by Cambridge’s CDT.
E246 is being made in kilogramme quantities for OLED-T by an undisclosed European chemical company, and further refined at the company’s R&D lab on the Brunel Science Park.
Although he will not discuss detail, Kathirgamanathan told Electronics Weekly that OLED-T has moved away from very large metal atoms from the lanthanide series in its fluorescent emissive complexes, and gone over to comparatively lighter metal atoms.
“This gives us higher electron mobility,” he said. “High electron mobility with the right energy levels gives us lower operating voltage.”
Kathirgamanathan has also developed phosphorescent complexes containing a heavy metal atom surrounded by a ligand for red and green; a host for fluorescent blue; and a fluorescent blue dopant.
The blue host and dopant together “give a very dark colour with 0.15, 0.15 coordinates. In that, our only competitor is [Japanese firm] Idemitsu, that has the same coordinates,” he said.
In lifetime tests, OLED-T is claiming 160,000 hours from 100 to 50cd/m² for its fluorescent red and green, and what looks like a 10,000 hour half-life at 150cd/m² for its blue, although testing is not yet complete.
A second-generation of electron transport materials will, said Kathirgamanathan, yield a further 10-fold improvement in electron mobility, up to 10-3cm²/Vs. A second-generation blue emitter is also expected, doubling efficiency from 5 to 10cd/A, and “probably delivering 5-6lm/W”.
Qualification of the first emissive materials is underway with two customers, and is expected to take 16 to 20 months.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------OLEDs on the look-out for unique application10 June 2006
Worldwide OLED panel market, 2004-2012: TV could take off around 2010 if backed by major players.
Image: iSuppli Corp, Organic Light-Emitting Diode Displays, 1H 2006
The growth of the OLED market depends heavily on the success of active matrix OLED technology.
Analysts expect the OLED panel market to grow by more than $200 m in 2006 as the technology gathers momentum. Kimberly Allen of iSuppli looks at the prospects for passive and active OLEDs in the face of stiff competition from LCDs.
Image: iSuppli Corp, Organic Light-Emitting Diode Displays, 1H 2006
Liquid-crystal displays (LCDs) are ubiquitous in everyday technology, from mobile phones and laptops to car stereos and coffee machines. But the organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display is emerging as a credible flat-panel alternative thanks to some important advantages over LCDs.OLED panel market
OLEDs possess the most fundamental feature needed in a display - they look great. As the name implies, OLEDs are diodes and function by injecting holes and electrons into a recombination region from which coloured light emerges. Different organic materials emit red, green, blue or other wavelengths of light, and come in small molecule and polymer form. Because they are emissive, OLEDs also have an excellent viewing angle, good contrast and high brightness.Market Growth
Unlike an LCD, an OLED does not need a backlight, which means that the display panel can be thinner. This is an important advantage in mobile devices. OLEDs also offer the potential for lower power consumption compared with an LCD, which is always constrained by the power consumption of the backlight. OLEDs supply power only to the pixels illuminated in a given image. OLED materials and device structures are becoming so efficient that an active-matrix OLED (AMOLED) a few inches in diagonal, showing video (on average 30% of full brightness), consumes less power than an equivalent LCD. In addition, because OLEDs can operate at high speed - around 100 times faster than an LCD - devices can support video rates without blurring.Challenges
OLEDs fall into two categories: passive matrix and active matrix. Active matrix means that every pixel is individually switched, as opposed to a passive matrix arrangement, where row and column electrodes are used to control the pixel at a given intersection.
Unfortunately for manufacturers, OLED driving schemes tend to be more complicated than LCD devices. The reason behind this is that OLEDs are current-driven and are sensitive to slight fluctuations in current. LCDs on the other hand are voltage-driven. Instead of needing one thin film transistor (TFT) per pixel in an active matrix scheme, OLEDs need between two to five, arranged in a compensation circuit.
However, the biggest hurdle facing OLED developers is short lifetime. Although OLED materials and device structures have improved greatly over the past few years, manufacturers can still only guarantee between 5000 and 15,000 h of operation before the brightness of the panel is reduced to half of its initial value. This performance is sufficient for mobile phones and other consumer electronics, but inadequate for television and more sophisticated products. The organic materials simply do not hold up well under the driving current or the exposure to other materials within the device. What's more, the cathode material is highly sensitive to air and even when sealed, the OLED performance degrades slowly over time.
Device lifetime is shortened not only by declining brightness, but also by colour drift. For example, if the red, green and blue emitters degrade at different rates, the display shifts in hue over time. Typically, colour OLEDs are made by patterning red, green and blue emitters into subpixels, although it is also possible to mix multiple emitters together to form a single "white" material and use a colour filter.
With a commercial history of just seven years, OLED manufacturing remains at an early stage, both in terms of technique and equipment. Small-molecule OLEDs are made using vapour deposition techniques, such as evaporation through a shadow mask. OLED materials are too delicate for photolithography. Polymer OLEDs are made by solution processing, either spin-on techniques (for monochrome) or inkjet printing (for colour), although the latter has not yet been commercialized. Yields are quite high for simple panels, but established processes have not been put in place for most types of colour panels. This means that OLEDs are still priced higher than equivalent LCDs.Early Success
Despite the challenges involved, OLEDs have already reached the market in several key applications. The first commercial OLED product was a small-molecule, passive matrix monochrome car stereo display from Pioneer in 1999. Sold as an aftermarket device, the display was blue-green to resemble vacuum-fluorescent versions commonly in use. Since then, OLEDs have moved into mobile phones, MP3 players, a Kodak digital camera, various industrial and medical devices, and a few other consumer electronics.Market value
The worldwide market for OLED panels was valued at $520 m (€400 m) in 2005, and is expected to reach $743 m in 2006, rising to $3.5 bn in 2012. This represents a compound annual growth rate of 29% from 2006 to 2012. Looking at the detail, the growing importance of portable media applications and mobile phone main displays is clear.
The biggest market for passive matrix OLEDs is subdisplays, followed by MP3 players. 2005 was a difficult year for OLED subdisplays with the number of units and value both declining in comparison to 2004. Colour subdisplays fared better than monochrome or area colour versions, showing a modest increase in units. However, even this category declined in value from $252 m to $206 m. The difficult subdisplay market was the result of the falling price of TFT-LCD panels (for main displays), which in turn forced down the price of colour super-twisted nematic (CSTN) LCD panels for both main displays and subdisplays. OLED manufacturers, unaccustomed to swift market changes and unwilling to greatly reduce prices because costs remained high, failed to keep up with the changes until later in the year. At that point, orders had already been placed for CSTN LCDs.
Simple OLEDs have been favoured in MP3 players, which are often used as fashion or status items by younger people, because an area colour OLED display is much more eye-catching than a monochrome LCD. MP3 players have played an important role in the PMOLED market over the past two years, leaping more than eight-fold in units between 2004 and 2005, and filling the gap in factory utilization during fluctuations in the subdisplay market. They have also provided an opportunity for smaller PMOLED makers to enter the market. Difficulties in the MP3 market include component shortages and an unstable base of OEMs. The OEMs making the MP3 players are largely Chinese, and shift suppliers readily, seeking the lowest price.
The OLED market is still heavily dominated by passive matrix panels, which are expected to account for 99% of value and more than 99% of units in 2006. But active matrix panels are poised for commercialization. A few products have already appeared, although full mass production at adequate yield has not yet been achieved.
Looking at the worldwide OLED display shipment value in terms of passive and active markets highlights the enormous changes that could soon occur within the industry. The PMOLED market is predicted to continue growing in units throughout the forecast period, but is expected to stagnate at a value of around $1 bn from 2008. This is due to the steep price competition already being seen with CSTN. It is worth noting that the PMLCD market has already stagnated and is now declining in value each year.An active market
The growth of the OLED market depends heavily on the success of AMOLED. iSuppli believes that near-term commercialization is possible, and makes this assumption in its market forecast.
The first commercial AMOLED reached the market in April 2003. It was made by SK Display Corp - a manufacturing joint venture between Kodak and Sanyo - and was used in a Kodak EasyShare LS633 digital camera back display. The 174 (×RGB) × 218 pixel, 65,000-colour display measuring 2.2 inches has also been used by Ovideon and NeoSol for personal media players in 2005. However, SK Display folded in late 2005, primarily for financial reasons. In Japan, Sony released one model of its Clie PDA series fitted with an AMOLED during the first half of 2005 and is planning another AMOLED product, although no definite announcements have been made.
The most aggressive AMOLED company currently is Samsung SDI. It has invested heavily in building a factory and capital expenditures will reach $450 m. The plan is to release a mobile phone main display in early 2007 and samples are already shipping.
In the meantime, AU Optronics (AUO) has started selling a 2 inch AMOLED for a mobile phone. The OEM is BenQ-Siemens (which owns 40% of AUO), and the phone is being sold initially in Taiwan and then Europe. Other Taiwanese players are making definite plans. Chi Mei Electroluminescence (CMEL) was spun-off as a subsidiary of the Chi Mei Group in 2004 and plans to release both PMOLED and AMOLED panels in small sizes during 2006. Toppoly has built an AMOLED line and intends to release panels for a camera and a mobile phone near the end of 2006. Other players involved with AMOLED include Toshiba Matsu****a Display, Hitachi, Samsung Electronics, LG.Philips LCD, RiTdisplay, Epson and Sharp.
The key application for AMOLED is the mobile phone main display. It offers the largest total available market (TAM), and is well-suited to the OLED's attractive image, low power consumption and thin profile. In addition, the increasing use of video on mobile devices also favours the OLED's fast speed. One challenge is the assurance of supply. Mobile handset makers need assurance from OLED panel suppliers that they can deliver at least 10,000 panels per month and often much more. Unfortunately, this figure is currently beyond the capability of most panel suppliers because of low yield and process development is continuing to improve manufacturing competence.
An interesting new idea is the possibility of area colour main displays for emerging markets such as India and South America. It is suggested that these markets could be like the MP3 market, where an inexpensive but attractive display is needed, so that area colour OLED is a superior choice to STN-LCD. However, it remains to be seen whether CSTN might actually emerge as the display of choice in these cases.Looking further ahead
The ultimate dream of many OLED panel makers is to serve the large-screen television market. OLED is well suited to TV - it has fast speed, good colour, excellent viewing angle and high contrast ratio. TV does not require high resolution, so inkjet printing should be able to serve. The main challenges are the large size, long lifetime requirement (30,000 h), and low price point. Another hurdle is the competition from many other technologies, which is rarely acknowledged.
The TV market is already flooded with options: CRT, LCD, plasma, projection and the potential for a variety of novel technologies like SED and carbon-nanotube-based technology. Consumers, for the most part, do not care about the particular technology - they tend to look only at the picture quality and the price, followed by the size or depth. Having so many technology options makes it difficult to grab the attention of end-product OEMs and channel vendors, and display companies themselves may have to make strategic choices if they can offer multiple technologies.
Currently, OLEDs cannot be manufactured in large sizes. Even the more aggressive participants such as Samsung Electronics have announced that they plan to enter the market around 2008. More time is needed to establish manufacturing processes for large panels and to build equipment that can make such panels efficiently. Inkjet printers for large substrates are still in the beta phase.
Thus, it is likely that the first OLED TVs will be small, designed for novel locations such as the kitchen or bathroom. The TAM for this sort of TV is small, but OLEDs offer novelty. Later, as technical and manufacturing capabilities grow, OLEDs may move into more standard-sized TVs (20-30 inches, or even larger). This could happen around 2010, but only with continued investment and commitment from major players.
Beyond television lies the potential for OLED lighting. Some say that this application could be simpler because there is no need to pattern subpixels or provide a complex backplane to drive it. But the requirement for long lifetime remains, and so OLEDs must still grapple with the difficulties of organic material degradation and colour shift. These are exacerbated at the high brightness levels required for lighting applications.Finding a niche
What OLEDs need most is a unique application that LCDs cannot serve. At this time, everything an OLED can do can also be done by an LCD - and for a lower price. Furthermore, most of the key companies developing OLEDs are also LCD players, and hence they are ramping up OLED products as part of a larger strategy that will not cannibalize their own LCD businesses.
One option for a unique product would be a flexible OLED. Flexible LCDs exist, but are less appealing than flexible OLEDs. The main difficulty with flexible LCDs is that the image quality is so strongly affected by the cell gap between the two substrates of the display. OLEDs have no cell gap challenge, although this advantage is balanced by the disadvantage of requiring a powerful barrier to protect against water in the air. While glass substrates provide such a barrier naturally, plastic allows too much water to pass and must have a barrier layer. Adequate barrier technology has not yet been developed.
Flexible OLEDs could be used in applications such as shop signage, electronic shelf labels, novel forms of advertising displays and even electronic books or paper. Most developers agree that even entry-level products are still at least 2-3 years away due to technical challenges, but this represents an important long-term option for OLEDs.About the author
Kimberly Allen is director of display technology and strategy at iSuppli, a US-based group of market experts specializing in the semiconductor and display industries. For more information, see www.isuppli.com
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------OLED firm invests in R&D facility14 June 2006
OLED-T, the UK-based manufacturer of organic light emitting diode (OLED) materials, has invested $900,000 in an R&D facility on the Brunel University Science Park site, Uxbridge. Last month the firm raised $7m from venture funding.
The 2,000 square foot R&D facility is a chemistry laboratory which will support the production of its OLED materials known as ELAMATES and develop future
generations of materials.
According to Myrddin Jones, CEO of OLED-T, the company is a supplier OLED materials to display manufacturers in Korea, Japan and Taiwan. “The new facility will enable OLED-T to scale the production of its ELAMATE OLED materials to commercial quantities,” said Jones.
The firm also has a manufacturing and device test laboratory on the Innova Science Park in North London.
The OLED display market is predicted to grow from revenues of $500m in 2005 to more than $4.6bn by 2010.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Next-Generation TV Screens to Debut20 June 2006
Samsung SDI and LG.Philips LCD will start mass producing the next-generation AM OLED TV screens this fall, as profits plummet in traditional LCD and PDP screen businesses.
AM OLED (active matrix organic light-emitting diode) is a thin film that emits light by using organic compounds. As it does not require a backlight to function, it is claimed to be more power- and cost-efficient than LCD (liquid crystal display) or PDP (plasma display panel) when mass-produced.
LG.Philips, the 50-50 joint venture of Korea’s LG Electronics and Philips Electronics of the Netherlands, said on Monday that it is working on an AM OLED manufacturing line in Kumi, North Kyongsang Province, and production will start in fourth quarter of the year.
“We have set the internal goal of operating the AM OLED line from the fourth quarter. There is no opposition on that,’’ the company’s public relations official Lee Sang-wook said by phone.
Samsung SDI also confirmed that it will start producing OLED panels of 2 to 2.6 inches from October in its manufacturing complex in Chonan, South Chungchong Province. Samsung SDI has invested 465 billion won in building the line.
It is believed that AM OLED will replace LCD because of its clear image, simple structure and faster response time. But so far, because of technological barriers, it has been used only for small screens used in mobile phones and other digital gadgets.
Since last year, both Samsung and LG have succeeded in developing OLED screens larger than 20 inches. Samsung Electronics even demonstrated a 40-inch OLED TV last year.
The early transition to OLED is mainly due to the lower-than-expected sales of the LCD and PDP panels. LG.Philips LCD last week halved its second quarter expectations, saying it will reduce production of LCD panels and will reconsider its future investment plans.
SDI also has seen its profit drop as the demands for traditional PDP and CRT displays slowed.
To create synergy, LG Group is expected to consolidate the OLED department in LG Electronics into LG.Philips LCD soon. “It is yet to be decided, but there are such opinions in the company,’’ said Lee of LG.Philips LCD.
The market for AM OLED is projected to grow from $831 million this year to $2 billion next year, and to $5.3 billion in 2009, according to market researcher Displaysearch.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Konica Minolta claims OLED breakthrough30 June 2006
As well as giving Sony its D-SLR technology, the folks at KM have been busy with OLEDs. The company just announced a device with a 10,000 hour life at 64 lumens/watt, working out to a brightness of 1,000 candelas per square meter. But not only is it bright, it can also do white.
There are hints at applications coming (think cellphones), but the idea is that OLEDs are a step nearer to escaping their niche markets (for example, in the sub screen of your DAP). Or maybe not. A bit like with DMFC fuel cells vs. lithium-ion batteries, OLEDs are one of those technologies that have a lot of potential plusses over more standard competitors (read: LCDs), but there always seems to be a major glitch or two stopping them from becoming the next big thing next year.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------AUO and CMO said to give up on OLED18 July 2006
Both AU Optronics (AUO) and Chi Mei Optoelectronics (CMO) are giving up on OLED (organic light-emitting diode) development, with AUO already suspending R&D activities for the segment while CMO's wholly own subsidiary Chi Mei Electroluminescence (CMEL) is downsizing its workforce by two thirds, due to an uncertain outlook and low yields, according to the Chinese-language Apple Daily.
AUO said the report about it suspending OLED R&D activities was false. The company is still developing OLED technology and products while planning on recruiting more workforce for the segment, sources at the company said. However, AUO declined to comment on production and capacity detail for the OLED segment since it is now in a quiet period prior to the release of its second quarter financial results.
CMO was quoted by the paper as claiming CMEL is only undergoing personnel changes and will not give up on OLED production since OLED is another strategic product for CMO.
CMO confirmed that CMEL is downsizing but declined to comment further.
AUO started investing in OLED technology in 2002, with the company claiming to be the first to introduce a-Si (amorphous silicon)-based full color OLED technology. AUO has rolled out several active-matrix (AM) OLEDs through 2006 and the company currently has two OLED lines, one producing 200×200mm substrates while the other processes 370×470mm substrates.
CMEL was established in October 2004 with a capital of NT$900 million (US$27 million). The company said it currently focuses on small- to medium-size OLED applications and aims at developing OLED TVs in the future.
CMEL plans to volume produce 2.2-inch AM OLEDs in the third quarter of 2006. CMEL's AM OLED line is an adjusted 3.5G line from CMO and the substrate size is by far the largest among industry players, according to an earlier article. The OLED maker currently produces passive-matrix (PM) OLEDs, with monthly capacity at around two-million units and yields at 80-90%, the Apple Daily reported. PM OLED is less expensive to produce than AM OLED and is ideal for applications in consumer electronics such as mobile phone, PDA, portable game console, car-use display and electronic dictionaries.
AUO said it is aiming at applying AM OLED to full-color display applications that require high resolution such as PDAs, digital cameras, monitors, notebooks and TVs. However, the yields for AM OLEDs are still low and Taiwan-based OLED makers are still striving to lower their costs and improve yield.
The OLED market grew 65% in 2005, with Taiwan taking the lead with a surge in shipments from 11 million units in 2004 to 27 million in 2005, followed by South Korea, which increased shipments from 16 million units to 22 million, followed by Japan, which posted growth from seven million units to eight million, according to market research firm Displaybank.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Research Could Extend Life of OLEDs9 September 2006
OLED-T has produced a material for “small-molecule” OLED displays that can extend life and improve efficiency.
“We expect at least 20 percent better lifetime and slightly better luminance efficiency,” company CEO Myrddin Jones told Electronics Weekly.
The material, dubbed EL-101 is an electron injection layer. “Ninety-nine percent of OLED displays use lithium fluoride for this layer,” said Jones. “It requires 600°C processing which has an impact on the lifetime of the other layers.”
This tops even the 400°C required to deposit the aluminum back contact. “A LiF electron injector represents the highest temperature process in the fabrication of the OLED,” said Jones.
EL-101 evaporates at 300°C. “It has less impact on lifetime, and throughput is higher because it is faster to ramp the machine up to 300 rather than 600°C,” said Jones.
The company will not disclose the make-up of EL-101 except to say it is an organic material available in powder form in kilogram quantities.
In it more expensive than the traditional electron injector. “LiF is a very cheap salt,” said Jones. “EL-101 is probably two to three times the price of LiF, but it is only used in nanometer thicknesses.”
El-101, claims Jones, like LiF, is universally applicable: “It can be used for single-color or multi-color; fluorescent or phosphorescent; active or passive matrix.”
Electron injectors are one of the layers used in OLEDs to improve efficiency. “If a device was fabricated with no electron injector layer then the drive voltage would be three times higher than with a LiF or EL-101 layer,” said Jones.
In June OLED-T introduced an electron transport layer called E246 and designed as a drop-in replacement for the incumbent aluminum quinolate but with 10 times the carrier mobility and three times the life. “It reduces operating voltage and gives you a more saturated color,” said company CTO Professor Poopathy Kathirgamanathan at the time.
A next-generation electron transport material exists in OLED-T’s labs which, said Kathirgamanathan, will yield a further 10-fold improvement in electron mobility, up to 10-3cm²/Vs. A second-generation blue emitter is also expected, doubling efficiency from 5 to 10cd/A, and “probably delivering 5-6lm/W”.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Further Significant Progress in Polymer OLED Lifetime Announced3 October 2006High Efficiency Red Materials Reach Almost 100,000 Hours Lifetime
CAMBRIDGE, England, October 3 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/
Following quickly behind the recent announcement by Cambridge Display Technology (CDT) [Nasdaq: OLED] and Sumation® of rapid progress in the development of longer lifetime blue light emitting polymers, comes this announcement of similarly impressive progress on red materials.
Data from devices produced using these latest, solution processable, phosphorescent materials show lifetime1 of 98,900 hours from an initial luminance of 400cd/msquared, equivalent to over 1.5 million hours from 100cd/msquared.
This represents almost a doubling of the lifetime results announced as recently as March of this year.
Production of video capable OLED displays requires a full color range of red, green and blue with long lifetime and good efficiency. The efficiency of this phosphorescent red material is approximately 9cd/A, and the color co-ordinates are: (CIEx=0.67, y=0.32).
"We are now seeing tremendous momentum in our development of the full range of P-OLED materials", commented Dr David Fyfe, CEO of CDT. "This latest result demonstrates that our rate of learning and discovery is really accelerating bringing many more applications for P-OLED technology within reach in a short timeframe."
The company will be exhibiting at FPD International in Yokohama, Japan from 18th to 20th October, and will be pleased to welcome visitors at its booth - no. 461.
Note to Editors:
When 'lifetime' is discussed here, it refers to the time taken for the display/pixel to fall to half its initial stated luminance. Lifetime estimates are based on accelerated testing of simple test devices at several very high initial luminance levels, and use of these data to calculate predicted lifetimes at lower brightness levels. Translation of this single pixel data into performance in an RGB display system depends on a number of factors and requires a complex calculation and knowledge of the precise system design parameters such as aperture ratio, brightness, ink formulation and relative pixel areas.
Cambridge Display Technology is a pioneer in the development of polymer organic light emitting diodes (P-OLEDs) and their use in a wide range of electronic display products used for information management, communications and entertainment.
P-OLEDs are part of the family of OLEDs, which are thin, lightweight and power efficient devices that emit light when an electric current flows. P-OLEDs offer an enhanced visual experience and superior performance characteristics compared with other flat panel display technologies such as liquid crystal displays, and have the key advantage that they can be applied in solution using printing processes. Founded in 1992, the company is headquartered in Cambridge, UK and listed on the US NASDAQ National Market under the symbol 'OLED'. In 2005, CDT and Sumitomo Chemical established a joint venture called Sumation® which develops, manufactures and sells P-OLED materials to the display industry.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Outlook for OLED Market Dim in PMOLED, Rosy in AMOLED in 200712 October 2006
Displaybank (CEO Peter Kwon), a market research firm, says that the organic light-emitting diode (OLED) industry will observe clearly alternating joy and sorrow in 2006.
Many PMOLED manufacturers have announced their plan to reduce mass production or withdraw from the business sector due to their business downturn. Teco Optronics Co., Optotech Co. Ltd., Ness Display Co. Ltd. and Orion PDP Co. Ltd., excluding the top five to six players, have suffered deterioration in the business segment and eventually withdrew from the market. The PMOLED business seems to face the limitation in the near future without finding a new growth engine such as new clients. Therefore, the OLED industry is paying much attention to the time when AMOLEDs hit the market.
A set of withdrawal or indefinite delay news by AMOLED development specialists such as Pioneer and Sanyo have shed light on the negative outlook, but Samsung SDI and LG.Philips LCD (hereinafter called LPL) and CMEL, an OLED affiliate of CMO, are attracting attention by revealing their schedule for AMOLED mass production. Samsung SDI plans to invest 465.5 billion won ($486 million) to build an AMOLED production plant in Cheonan with the aim of launching mass production in October 2006. LPL unveiled its 2.4-inchQVGA AMOLED at the SID 2006 exhibition in the U.S. in June this year, and also announced it plan to commence mass production of AMOLEDs in the fourth quarter of 2006. In September, CMEL also disclosed its project of AMOLED mass production from the fourth quarter of this year.
The current status of PMOLEDs and AMOLEDs raises the predictions that the mainstay will migrate away from PMOLED toward AMOLED in 2007, with a slowdown in the PMOLED market and market entrance by AMOLEDs. However, there are a number of questions about the success feasibility of the AMOLED business.
Industry insiders agree with the possibility that AMOLED will dominate the next-generation display market, but they say that the time is uncertain. The success will rely on how many application manufacturers including mobile phone vendors will adopt AMOLEDs instead of TFT-LCDs, and when the AMOLED can make inroads into the 10-inch and larger panel market.
Given the circumstances, the worldwide industry is keeping an eye on whether or not the three frontrunners, Samsung SDI, LG.Philips LCD and CMEL, will ride on the stable track of AMOLED.
Whichever is right, it's doubtful that both companies' strategy for early mass production will be successful, but taking into account a variety of factors such as know-how in the FPD industry, technology accumulated through constant research, relations with demand, and all-out supports by corporations, both AMOLED makers seem to have a huge potential for growth in the market.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------12mm-thick 17-inch OLED TV17 October 2006
Samsung SDI presented a 17-inch AMOLED TV set at KES 2006. The panel is only 1.8mm thick and the TV set is just thin as 12mm. It features a brightness of 400 candela, a contrast ratio of 1,000:1 and 170 viewing angle.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------CMEL and CMO develop 25-inch AM OLED TV panel18 October 2006
Chi Mei EL Corporation (CMEL) announced that it has successfully employed the latest low temperature poly-silicon (LTPS) TFT LCD technology from Chi Mei Optoelectronics (CMO) together with its own organic light-emitting diodes (OLED) equipment and technology to develop a full-function, full-color 25-inch OLED TV panel.
The OLED panel is currently the world's largest LTPS TFT active matrix (AM) OLED panel and features a slim panel, wide viewing angle, high contrast and fast response time, CMEL said.
CMEL's AM OLED products are about to enter the mass production stage. CMEL is also showing a variety of new AM OLED products with the new LTPS TFT technology, including 2.0- and 3.5-inch products, at FPD International 2006 in Japan (October 18-20) and expects to have these products in mass production starting in the first quarter of next year.
CMEL is also using its 25-inch panel technology to improve the production yield for its small- to medium-size panels for 3G and digital video products.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Analysis: OLED makers suffering under LCD competition24 November 2006PESSIMISM: Unless an industry niche can be found, the outlook for this small but innovative sector is less than ideal
By Lisa Wang
A decade ago, innovative Taiwanese flat panel display companies started investing in a cutting-edge and cost-saving organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology in an attempt to move beyond the slim profits associated with original equipment manufacturing.
Those companies, however, have all but given up hope as high technological barriers and cutthroat competition from cost-efficient liquid-crystal-display (LCD) makers have placed them deep in the red.
"Taiwanese companies hoped to make big money from manufacturing slimmer OLED displays at lower prices than LCD panels," said Roger Yu (游智超), a flat-panel industry analyst with Polaris Securities Co (寶來證券).
"But, the dream has not yet come true as progress in developing competitive products has been slow because of poor foundry yields and performance," Yu said, adding that most companies were still struggling to break even.
Low yields have prompted LCD panel makers AU Optronics Corp (友達光電) and Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp (奇美電子), which are also developing OLED technology, to cut their OLED staff numbers, according to market research DisplaySearch.
Heavy losses have driven many pure OLED manufacturers out of the market. Singapore's Ness Display closed its doors recently because it failed to attract enough capital amid falling prices to continue operations.
Back home, optical-disk maker Ritek Corp (錸德) on Wednesday was just the latest example of a firm that had chosen to opt out of the industry to concentrate on its core business. Opto Tech Corp (光磊) decided last week to close an unprofitable OLED plant citing immature market conditions and lackluster outlook. In August, home appliances maker Teco Electric & Machinery Co (東元) said it planned to move its OLED plant to China to form a joint venture with a Chinese company owned by the Sichuan government.
"Sharp price reductions and difficulties in cutting costs are the major challenges for OLED display makers," said Kevin Liao (廖顯杰), a flat-panel industry analyst with DisplaySearch.
Ritek said on Wednesday that it planned to sell an OLED manufacturing affiliate, Ritdisplay Corp (錸寶), to South Korean Kolon Industries Inc, after Ritdisplay, the world's No. 5 maker of OLED displays by revenue, had accumulated NT$4.8 billion (US$146 million) in losses since 2002.
"The deal will bring more resources for Ritdisplay and boost its core competitiveness as well as reduce financial reliance on the parent company," Ritek said in a statement.
DisplaySearch's Liao also said limited OLED equipment and component suppliers were behind slow improvements in the industry cost structure.
Technologically, OLED displays readily compete with LCDs in small-and-medium applications such as handset displays and MP3s palyers, but LCD makers are able to edge OLED suppliers out of the market by undercutting them on price.
Overall, OLED display shipments expanded by 15 percent to 16.1 million units in the second quarter of this year over last year, but revenues dropped 14 percent to US$112 million, according to a DisplaySearch tally.
"It's tough for Taiwanese companies to survive as they are smaller in scale than their rivals," Liao said.
Liao said those companies remaining in the industry were conservative about expansion plans.
Ritdisplay, established in 2000, has a capital value of NT$7.5 billion while local rival Univision Technology Inc (悠景) is worth just NT$1.8 billion.
On top of that, “the competition will intensify next year as more Chinese players are preparing to join the game,” Liao said.
Looking from a longer term perspective, Liao said there was still opportunity in the industry. To divert from direct competition with lower-priced LCD panels, OLED display manufacturers should target niche market segments such as Asian handset makers, he suggested.
But Polaris' analyst Yu said he would take a wait-and-see attitude about OLED stocks as he expected they would still have a long way to go before making significant gains.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Universal Display and Nippon Steel boost green OLED performance21 December 2006
December 21, 2006, Tokyo, Japan and Ewing NJ--Nippon Steel Chemical Company (NSCC) and Universal Display today announced significant enhancement in the performance of green phosphorescent OLEDs resulting from their ongoing technical collaboration.
By combining Universal Display's green phosphorescent emitter, UDC-GD48, with NSCC's new green host material, the two companies have achieved record operational lifetime for a green phosphorescent OLED device. This green OLED offers 60,000 hours of operational lifetime at an initial luminance of 1,000 candelas per square meter (cd/m(2)). The device also exhibits a high luminous efficiency of 65 candela per ampere (cd/A) and an external quantum efficiency of 18%, at 1,000 cd/m(2), both characteristic features and benefits of phosphorescent OLED technology. The color coordinates for this device in a standard bottom-emission structure are C.I.E. (0.35, 0.61).
While these color and efficiency characteristics have previously been reported, obtaining this performance in conjunction with improved operational lifetime is an important milestone for Universal Display and NSCC. This represents more than a two-fold increase in operational stability, key for commercial success, as compared to previously reported performance. The device also incorporates Universal Display's proprietary blocking layer material to achieve the reported results. UDC-GD48 is currently available from Universal Display and NSCC's new green host material will soon be available from NSCC for evaluation and use in commercial production.
As a milestone of these collaborative development efforts, UDC and NSCC have now established material systems for red and green phosphorescent OLEDs. The companies are also collaborating on the development of blue phosphorescent materials.
For more information about NSCC's host materials, please contact Masamichi Fujii
. For more information about Universal Display's PHOLED materials and technology, please contact Janice K. Mahon
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Display makers to mass produce AM OLEDs3 January 2007
From Samsung SDI Co. to LG.Philips LCD Co., the race to mass-produce the next-generation display device called "active-matrix organic light emitting diodes" or AM OLEDs will intensify this year, industry analysts said yesterday.
Samsung SDI will start rolling out AM OLEDs in the first half of this year, though the specific timetable has yet to be decided. It will mark the display panel's official debut on the global market, company officials said.
LG.Philips LCD, which deferred production of AM OLEDs at its Gumi plant late last year pending a management decision, is expected to shortly follow suit.
AM OLEDs need no backlighting and therefore consume less power. They offer a lightweight yet powerful display panels for small digital gadgets such as mobile phones, digital cameras and portable multimedia players. The display module offers a replacement for liquid crystal displays or LCDs currently in use.
"As OLEDs function with self-luminous organic materials, they are better than thin film transistor liquid crystal displays or TFT-LCDs in terms of response time. OLEDs' response time of 1 micro second is 1,000 times faster than TFT-LCDs' 1 milli second reaction time. This feature can help OLEDs realize perfect moving images," said Song Young, an official at Samsung SDI's public relations team.
Samsung SDI plans to roll out an array of QVGA-level AM OLEDs, ranging from 2.0 to 2.6 inches, in the first half of this year. The company aims to manufacture and supply over 100 million units per year beginning next year.
It has invested a combined 460 billion won for the display's production line at its Cheonan plant, located 40 minutes by car from Seoul. The company began a trial production of AM OLEDs in October last year.
Meanwhile, Taiwanese and Japanese manufacturers are taking a "wait-and-see" attitude despite their technical readiness, suggesting they will make a move after seeing Korean display makers start plowing money in the new cutting-edge display modules.
CMEL, an affiliate of Taiwan's CMO, plans to mass produce in the first half. Toppoly of Taiwan plans for the third quarter. TMD and Sony Corp. of Japan are known to have set the timing at the second half of this year.
Industry watchers say AM OLEDs and small-sized LCDs will inevitably compete against each other, signaling "a war without bullets" in the small- and mid-sized display sector.
AM OLEDs, at this early stage of production could be a rather costly option for its buyers, mobile-phone manufacturers. The price will be about 40 percent higher than that of LCDs.
Still, the industry is upbeat on the potential for this tiny screen technology as it offers many other advantages - lightness, better screen quality, higher power efficiencies, faster response time and no optical illusions when viewed from the side.
The U.S.-based market research firm DisplaySearch projects the production of AM OLEDs will literally soar from last year's 2.39 million units to 24.84 million this year, 95.88 million in 2008, and 200 million in 2010.