Last month Seiko Epson has unveiled a new inkjet-printing technology for OLEDs, suitable for large sized panels. We have talked to Satoru Miyashita, General Manager of Seiko Epson's Core Technology Development Center about this new technology and their plans for OLED production.
Q: You have shown a new ink-jet based OLED technology. You say it will enable 37" or larger HD-OLED TVs. Do you have any plans to actually make such TVs? When do you think products can be made with this new tech?
Epson is currently considering a variety of options regarding the commercialization of this technology, but at this point no specific announcements have been made about plans. We see 2012 as being the year that 37"+ OLED TVs will be launched by various makers, and 2015 as the year that sales will really take off for this market.
Q: Will the new printing technology also allow OLED lighting panels? Or is it just for displays?
This technology was designed specifically with displays in mind. It may be possible to apply it to the production of lighting panels too, but there may not be many benefits to using the inkjet process as OLED lighting uses a single color.
Q: Back in 2004, you signed an agreement with Universal-Display to co-develop inkjet OLED printing. Is the new tech part of this agreement? Are you using PHOLED materials or IP?
Epson's relationship with UDC is still strong and research is ongoing, and we published a paper at SID 2009 on P2OLED small molecule systems with UDC's assistance.
This paper is about the status of Printed OLEDs. Epson says that the biggest issues with printed OLEDs has been significantly improved. They give examples of a polymer-based OLED device with 45,000 hoursl lifetime, and a phosphorescent small-molecule system that has 40 cd/A efficiency.
Q: In 2007 you said you will begin to make OLED panels (the aim there was to make large 8" panels). Is this still on track? Will Seiko-Epson be making medium sized panels? When?
Epson does have the capability to produce these panels, and also demonstrated them last year at a display exhibitions in Japan. Research about commercialization continues, but at this point no announcements have been made about suitable applications for such products. As with larger panels, cost/benefit issues remain.
Q: Are you working on other OLED technologies? or are you focusing on Inkjet printing?
This inkjet technology was designed with large-size panels in mind. R&D continues on other methods and technologies for other applications too.
Mr Satoru, Thank you very much! I hope we'll see large sized OLED TVs by Epson soon, maybe even before 2012...