Display conference showcases industry growth

SAN FRANCISCO, CA-Reflecting the growth of the display industry and the expansion of the technology into ever more consumer and industrial applications, the annual conference of the Society for Information Display (SID) keeps getting larger, according to Steve Atwood, SID board member and organizer of the symposium program committee.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA-Reflecting the growth of the display industry and the expansion of the technology into ever more consumer and industrial applications, the annual conference of the Society for Information Display (SID) keeps getting larger, according to Steve Atwood, SID board member and organizer of the symposium program committee. A record 8000 attendees were expected this year, and more than 300 companies were represented in the exhibits.

In addition to the year-over-year increases in attendance, Atwood noted the incredible advances in technologies and applications at this year’s meeting. With 13 of the 70 technical sessions at the Symposium, organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) represented the largest single technological concentration at SID 2006. OLED sessions focused on device structures, active-matrix OLEDs, OLED manufacturing, materials, and blue-emitting OLEDs. LED backlighting, heavily represented within four sessions on backlighting, was another hot area, and new color gamut technology in LCDs enlivened two LCD sessions. Other areas of particular interest at SID included some “cool physics” in flexible displays and electronic paper and advances in manufacturing technologies, according to Atwood.

The most significant change, however, may have been that in 2006, for the first time in the history of the SID conference, there were no papers on no cathode-ray-tube (CRT) technology. Three sessions focused on field-emission-display, however, and six sessions covered plasma displays.

“Years ago, the only real choice was CRT-with any major product, you had to put a CRT or buttons in it,” Atwood said. “But over the last 20 years, there has been an explosion of multiple options for displays and how to implement them. So the core technology keeps getting better, the enhancements to what you can do with the technology keep getting better and the prices keep coming down.”

Among new technology announcements at SID 2006 in the OLED area, Royal Philips Electronics (Eindhoven, The Netherlands) and Novaled (Dresden, Germany) reported that a collaborative effort between Philips Lighting, Philips Research, and Novaled had yielded a new record for the power efficiency of a white OLED. The researchers obtained 32 lm/W and a CRI of 88 at a brightness of 1000 cd/m2. The device is also expected to achieve a lifetime on the order of at least 20,000 hours, based on previous results achieved with a similar structure.

“This result combines for the first time ultra-high power efficiency and high operational stability and can pave the way to a bright future of OLED lighting,” said Jan Blochwitz-Nimoth, CTO of Novaled. “We expect to be able to increase this efficiency to values above 50lm/W in the near future.”

In an interesting twist on the concept of LED backlighting of LCD TVs, Global Lighting Technologies (GLT; Brecksville, OH) and Luminus Devices (Woburn, MA) are partnering to produce modular LED-based edge-lighting assemblies for large-screen LCD TVs. Luminus’ PhlatLight technology, combined with GLT’s MicroLens light guides, enabled large-size LCD panels to be edge-lit, as opposed to directly backlit. The result was dramatically reduced LED count, and simplified color and thermal management compared to conventional LED-based backlighting solutions.

The combination yields a potential for LCD TV screens with brightness in excess of 8500 cd/m2 at the backlight surface, thickness less than 15 mm in production units, passive thermal management, and significantly lower production costs. For instance, a 32-in. LCD TV that formerly required hundreds or even thousands of LEDs to backlight might be edge-lit with less than 12 chipsets-each containing a single red, green and blue die, and future developments are expected to reduce the number of chipsets even further, according to David DeAgazio, director of worldwide sales at GLT. GLT demonstrated a 24-in working prototype on the exhibit floor, and announced a long-term strategy focused on edge-lit LCD TVs of 40” diagonal and larger. -HJB and KK

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