Mass-produceable flexible display substrate from ITRI wins SID silver award

May 19, 2011
Hsinchu, Taiwan--ITRI will receive the SID Silver Display Component of the Year Award for its flexible substrate for displays and electronics.

Hsinchu, Taiwan--Taiwan's research and development institute ITRI (Industrial Technology Research Institute) will receive the Society for Information Display’s (SID) Silver Display Component of the Year Award on May 18 in Los Angeles for its “High Performance Organic Inorganic Hybrid Plastic Substrate for Flexible Display and Electronics”a platform that allows for mass production and development of flexible and transparent displays of all sizes. According to a Display Bank report, the flexible display market is predicted to surge from $280 million in 2010 to $5.9 billion in 2015 and $12.2 billion by 2017.

"Resolving the challenges associated with flexible displays has been at the forefront of the electronic and material development industry for the past few years," said Dr. Jia-Ming Liu, deputy general director of ITRI’s Material & Chemical Research Labs. The major problems were overheating and cloudiness. In the past, to fabricate transistors on flexible display substrates required high temperatures. However, when made on a soft substrate of plastic material (PEN/PES), the transistors couldn’t withstand temperatures ranging from 200-300°C and were easily destroyed. Additionally, the transistors excessively shifted in position due to the plastics’ high thermal expansion coefficient, furthering the problem.

In response to the issue, some researchers added approximately 30% of heat-resistant inorganic materials to the existing materials to improve the substrate’s resistance to heat. While this approach solved the initial problem, it turned the substrate yellow and cloudy, making the display less clear and bright. But ITRI developed a unique process to combine the inorganic materials with the traditional organic materials. The researchers positioned the inorganic materials at the base of the substrate and then added the organic materials, which successfully increased the proportion of silicon dioxide in the inorganic material from 20-to-40% up to 60%.

ITRI’s Flexible Substrate for Displays is compatible with existing thin film transistor (TFT) infrastructures and processes and can be manufactured with either batch-type or roll-to-roll (R2R) processes. For batch-type processes, the substrate is prepared by coating the PI solution on glass carriers, and then fabricating TFT devices on the substrates. The PI/silica film exhibits excellent adhesion with silicon dioxide, silicon nitride and indium-tin-oxide without requiring any other primer or surface treatment process.

Presented by the Society for Information Display (SID; see, the 2011 Display of the Year Awards (DYA) recognize innovative display products, components and applications that hold the most promise for shaping the future of the global display industry. The DYAs are awarded each year with Gold and Silver honors in three categories: Display of the Year, Display Application of the Year, and Display Component of the Year. This year’s winners include Apple, Samsung and E Ink. ITRI is the only research institute to receive an award.

SOURCE: Graham & Associates press release;

About the Author

Gail Overton | Senior Editor (2004-2020)

Gail has more than 30 years of engineering, marketing, product management, and editorial experience in the photonics and optical communications industry. Before joining the staff at Laser Focus World in 2004, she held many product management and product marketing roles in the fiber-optics industry, most notably at Hughes (El Segundo, CA), GTE Labs (Waltham, MA), Corning (Corning, NY), Photon Kinetics (Beaverton, OR), and Newport Corporation (Irvine, CA). During her marketing career, Gail published articles in WDM Solutions and Sensors magazine and traveled internationally to conduct product and sales training. Gail received her BS degree in physics, with an emphasis in optics, from San Diego State University in San Diego, CA in May 1986.

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