Tackling Display Market Hurdles

A Closer Look at the LCD Industry and Its Manufacturing Hurdles

When the LCD industry settled on the amorphous silicon thin film transistor (TFT) for backplanes in the mid-1990s, it unknowingly headed towards financial difficulty and a limiting future. Since, the major Japanese, Korean and Taiwanese display manufacturers have been  losing billions of dollars annually.  

Over the last 10 years, LCD backplanes have been manufactured on increasingly larger pieces glass in an effort to produce more backplanes from each process run. Today’s Generation 8 display manufacturers produce displays from 32 to 56 inches, using 2.2 x 2.5 meter mother glass, costing roughly US$5 billion in capital expenditure. But these manufacturers’ attempts to overcome the costs, yield and performance TFTs are ill-fated. The burden of depreciation of the expensive fabrication tools coupled with the longer processing times for manufacturing TFTs on large mother glass is creating a no-win scenario for display manufacturers.

Issues in Manufacturing Flexible Displays

Problems in using TFT multiply as the industry moves to flexible displays. The chemistries used in manufacturing TFTs and the complexities of their manufacturing processes render TFTs all but useless for producing flexible displays. The amorphous silicon TFT is produced at temperatures that damage the glass and plastics used in flexible displays. So the industry responded by first developing low-temperature polysilicon TFTs and then metal oxide TFTs. Unfortunately, these devices compromise flexibility in order to achieve lower manufacturing temperatures; and none of these devices have proven suitable for driving the organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs) as the pixels for flexible displays.

Issues in Making High-Resolution and Small-Sized Displays

The display industry is more than just large-format televisions. While increased resolution “4k” displays are projected as the next phase of television, high-resolution displays are already mainstream in smartphones and tablets. The challenge of achieving high-resolution in smaller displays is the size of the pixel; the 2880x1800 pixel array used by Apple’s Retina display has over five times the number of pixels of the larger-screen Samsung Galaxy 2 tablet. Decreasing the pixel size means that the TFT blocks more backlighting, and makes the pixel circuit flexible for use with flexible glass.

Amorphyx Revolutionizes the Display Industry

In moving to Amorphyx’ AMNR, the display industry has the potential to convert annual losses into profits. At the same time, the flexible display industry moves from a stagnant vision of the future’s potential into mass market commercialization. With the display industry in a state of uncertainty, stuck somewhere between large annual losses in the flat panel segment and continuing delays in mass-market readiness for flexible displays, Amorphyx’ AMNR technology becomes the critical enabler in moving the display industry forward.