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Oxide TFT News
BOE Display is stepping up its OLED program - the company is constructing a 5.5-Gen LTPS fab in Ordos, which will also produce both LCDs and AMOLED displays, it is starting to build a $3.5 billion Gen-6 LTPS LCD/AMOLED production line in Chengdu, and it is also planning a 8.5 OLED TV fab in Hefei Xinzhan.
Last week BOE demonstrated several new AMOLED prototypes. First up we have a 9.55" flexible transparent panel, which is probably the largest such panel ever demonstrated. It features a resolution of 640x432, a curvature radius of 10 mm and 30% transmittance. The whole panel is just 150 micrometer thick.
Sharp announced a new 5.5" 4K IGZO LCD display (2160x3840) - that is the world's highest density display at 806 PPI (!). This takes the crowd from the previous record setting display - SDC's 5.1" QHD (577 PPI) Super AMOLED.
While it's a bit debatable whether we need such high-density displays in our mobile phones, it seems this race won't stop soon. Samsung is also reportedly working on a 4K panel for the Galaxy Note 5, for example (rumors suggest this will be a 5.9" 4K panel). Some other reports say that Samsung is also developing a 5" 4K panel (which will reach 860PPI).
In the past two years, Evonik and the Holst Centre has been developing a new soluble Oxide-TFT material and a slot-die coating deposition process. Evonik is now commercializing the so-called iXsenic S material. In fact Evonik says that a key customer is introducing the product in a mass production display fab (it is unknown if this line produces OLED or LCD displays).
Evonik says that their new material offers a performance good enough for high-resolution OLED and LCD displays, and it can be deposited in a coating process which lowers production costs.
Chunghwa Picture Tubes (CPT) had some pretty interesting prototype OLED displays shown at the Touch Taiwan 2014 trade show last month. We do not have any information regarding how close are these prototypes to commercialization.
So first up is a flexible AMOLED display. This panel is 4.8" in size and 720x240 resolution (158 PPI). The company did not reveal any more technical details. The company also showed some simpler flexible PMOLED panels, demonstrating their sealing capabilities by immersing them under water (see image below).
Last month Sony, Japan Display, Panasonic and the INCJ formed a new OLED company called JOLED to focus on medium sized OLEDs. JOLED will be launched in January 2015 and has the potential to become a large OLED player.
A few days later, OLEDNet reported that JOLED is likely to choose small-molecules OLEDs, Oxide-TFT backplanes, Sony's Super Top Emission technology and an WRGB pixel architecture. Today I found Sony's original press release (a month late, actually), and there's some interesting information in there.
Last month Japan Display, Sony and Panasonic announced the formation of a new OLED company. JOLED, funded by the Innovation Network Corporation of Japan, will be established formally in January 2015, and will focus mainly on medium sized OLEDs for tablet applications.
One of the key questions surrounding JOLED is the technology choice. While Sony (and JDI, which is basing its OLED program on Sony's tech) is using small-molecule OLEDs and an evaporation process, Panasonic based its OLED development on Sumitomo's P-OLED materials and printing technologies.
TCL Group announced that it is going to raise 5.7 billion RMB ($926 million) in a private placement (there will be 10 different investors) to build CSOT's T2 8.5-Gen fab. This fab will use Oxide-TFT substrates and will produce both LCDs and AMOLEDs. The company filed information which specifically mentioned that this fab is important due for the future OLED technology.
CSOT's 8.5-Gen Oxide-TFT fab was discussed back in July 2013, but we do not have any information regarding its capacity and how CSOT plans to split it between LCD and AMOLED production. A $926 million investment is not very large for such a fab, so this is probably just the first production line. Earlier estimates for the cost of this fab were 24.4 billion RMB (just over $4 billion).