Pixelated foil technology to be commercialized

Aug. 22, 2001
The Dutch company, Papyron, is set to commercialize a new technology for flexible displays based on pixelated foils. The firm's management believes the technology is ideal for mass production in the emerging market for flexible displays.

Groningen, Germany – The Dutch company, Papyron, is set to commercialize a new technology for flexible displays based on pixelated foils. The firm's management believes the technology is ideal for mass production in the emerging market for flexible displays.

The Papyron display products are based on polymer thin film materials. These films, or foils, are similar to materials used in packaging consumer products. They are available at low cost, and are light, strong, and flexible. The production process starts with a proprietary technique to create thousands of micron-sized channels in the film. These channels become pixels by filling them with materials that produce either a transmissive or a reflective display. Light-emitting materials or electro-phoretic inks are applied either using simple methods such as doctor blading (a wet process where a blade is pulled over the material leaving a uniform layer behind) for monochrome applications or using inkjet techniques for color applications.

The ink jet process is being developed with a Japanese partner. The pixels are then sealed with a transparent conducting top electrode such as ITO/PET. Papyron has demonstrated prototype displays, each with one of three substances: electro-phoretic materials, organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs), or organic conductors in combination with polymer dispersed liquid crystals.

The pixelated foil is combined with an electronic driving layer consisting either of segmented electrodes or thin film transistors for active matrix addressing. Papyron plans to work with partner companies who will supply packaging and electronics. Mass production techniques can be applied to the production of the polymer film displays. Roll-to-roll methods are planned, which are low cost, simple, and reliable.

The technology used to produce the pixelated film has been developed in close cooperation with the Department of Polymer Chemistry of the University of Groningen, under the leadership of Prof. Georges Hadziioannou. This research has resulted in a number of filed patent applications covering the Papyron display technology and production methods. The Papyron program has been supported by private investors and the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs.

Papyron claims that the high pixel density and contrasts that can be produced on their displays will give an image quality that is comparable to printed paper. The display can be read in the same conditions under which printed paper can be read and where conventional displays fail, such as in sunlight.

About the Author

Bridget Marx | Contributing Editor, UK

Bridget Marx was Contributing Editor, UK for Laser Focus World.

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