Strategy Director, FlexEnable
OLCDs on TAC film: Manufacturing and Performance attributes of low temperature OTFT-based LCDs
Paul A. Cain
FlexEnable Ltd., 34 Cambridge Science Park, Cambridge, CB4 0FX, UK
OLCDs are a new kind of LCD display built on plastic, made possible by OTFT backplanes, and are shortly entering mass production. Their unique attributes  are needed for applications including smart home appliances, notebooks, automotive, TVs and signage, and others where today’s flexible OLED displays are less suited.
Flexible OLED displays have many strengths including very high contrast and colour gamut, and are likely to be employed in foldable smartphones in the near future. However, they are expensive to manufacture as a result of both BOM and yield from the complex manufacturing process. Flex OLED display lifetime is also a limitation, particualrly in applications where high brightness is also required . As a result of these attributes, Flex OLEDs are best suited to high value flagship smart phones and smart watches, and these applications will completely dominate use for the next 5+ years. For many other applications that require flexible displays, where large area, low cost, or high brightness with long lifetime is important, a different approach is required.
OLCD is a complementary display technology to Flex OLED, making use of existing a:Si TFT-LCD production lines and converting them to manufacture OTFT-LCD onto a TAC film substrate in place of glass. These displays are manufactured with a simple low cost process , can be scaled to large sizes, and can be very bright without affecting lifetime (similar to glass LCD). We will describe the process attributes of OLCD, and how the low processing temperature (100°C) results in a low cost process, and allows the best possible optical performance for an LCD, with the added benefits of flexibility, recently demonstrated down to 10mm ROC – a record for LCD displays (see figure 1). We will also how OLCDs will shortly be entering mass production for the first time, in China.
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 C. Annis, “Cost Analysis of a-Si and Organic Semiconductor Based TFT Backplanes for FPDs”, SID Int. Symp. Dig. Tec., Vol. 48 (1), pp. 1509–1511 (2017).
Paul has over 15 years’ experience in the flexible and organic electronics industries, in both technical and strategic management roles. He has a deep technical and industry knowledge of flexible display technologies and companies. Paul has taken new flexible display technologies from lab to fab to commercial product, and has 25 patents relating to processes and architectures that enable the high yield manufacture of flexible displays, and has. Paul has a PhD in Physics from the University of Cambridge and an MBA from London Business School.
FlexEnable has developed the world’s first flexible electronics technology platform that allows electronics made of organic materials to be manufactured on flexible plastic film, the thickness of a sheet of paper. Compatible with existing display manufacturing lines, it is the key to truly flexible and cost effective electronics over large and small surfaces. The core applications of this technology are glass-free, flexible displays and sensors that enable game-changing products across a variety of industries including consumer electronics, automotive, digital signage, wearables, medical and security. www.flexenable.com