Next week in Japan, Insight Media analyst Ken Werner will be attending the FPD International conference. This event often proves to be a watershed in new display technology. Some of the advance news being released early to drive enthusiasm and attendance is indeed intriguing. Here are a few items we picked up in advance, but we will have a full wrap up after the event.
Senior Analyst and Editor
for Insight Media
One area of considerable interest is backlight technology for notebooks, monitors and TVs. In fact, analyst Robert Smith-Gillespie is in Korea this week gathering information for our upcoming LCD BLU report. But in Japan, Ken will have a chance to see what Luminus Devices and Global Lighting Technologies (GLT) have done with their LED-based BLU.
In the Midoriya Electronics booth, Luminus Devices and GLT will show a 37" LCD-TV with their LED-based BLU. This is different from most large-sized LCD-TV approaches in that it uses an edge-lit arrangement featuring Luminus’ high power RGB LEDs. Incredibly, only 7 RGB LED modules are used when combined with the GLT-designed waveguide to provide uniform illumination for the LCD-TV. In fact, there are 7 lightguides, one for each RGB LED module, that are assembled to create the full area backlight. Each "blade" has a light sensor to control colorimetry and the geometry allows for independent dimming for each blade.
Remember, most large-sized LED-based BLUs are the direct architecture that requires dozens to hundreds of LEDs. The direct approach is better for local area dimming, but it is clearly more complex.
Questions we would like answered: How good does the demo look? What is the time frame for commercialization? How do costs compare with other approaches?
A second demo of note is one by LG.Philips LCD. It has developed a 2.4-inch amorphous silicon (a-Si) TFT LCD panel for use in mobile phones, which it claims has the world’s thinnest border.
The borders on the left and right sides of this 2.4-inch QVGA-resolution LCD panel measure just 1mm each, about half the width of most a-Si TFT LCD panels currently produced. That means about a 10% increase in active screen area within the same frame footprint - an increase made possible by integrating the driver IC onto the LCD panel and using new materials and process technology. Mass production is slated for 2008.
Again, a question we would like answered: Is LPL fabricating the column drivers in a-Si (normally only possible in LTPS) or are they only integrating the less demanding row drivers?
The third announcement which caught our eye was from Seiko Epson, who revealed they will begin production of a new 8" OLED. The device will be demonstrated at FPD International and features an amazing lifetime figure of 50,000 hours.
The lifetime figure is impressive. Lifetime in fluorescent and phosphorescent small molecule OLEDs depends on a number of factors such as the emission wavelength, drive signal, brightness level, etc. Suppliers like Universal Display Corporation acknowledge that red and green phosphors that exceed 50,000 lifetime (defined as half brightness starting at 1000 cd/m2) can be fabricated, but blue has been a problem reaching only about 9,000 hours so far.
Questions for Seiko Epson: How was this high lifetime achieved? Does it depend on a new drive scheme and lower brightness levels (brightness is speced at 200 cd/m2)? How did it measure lifetime?
We did send notes to Seiko Epson and UDC to try to learn more, but no answers were received by press time. I hope Ken has better luck at FPD International.