The latest CDT OLED news:
UDC says that the European Patent Office has rejected an opposition to one of their core flexible OLED patents in Europe. The opposition was filed by Cambridge Display Technology (CDT) back in 2006.
CDT is one of the leaders in OLED research, focusing on Polymer-based OLEDs (PLEDs, also called P-OLEDs). While these OLEDs are lagging behind small-molecule OLEDs in current products (all AMOLEDs today are based on SM-OLEDs), some companies believe that PLEDs are actually the better tech for the future.
CDT's CEO, David Fyfe has agreed to answer a few questions we had on CDT's technology. David joined CDT in 2000 as Chairman and CEO. David saw CDT go public in 2004, and then negotiated the sale of CDT to Sumitomo for $285 million (in September 2007). David is also a director of Soligie, an electronics printing company, Acal Energy, a fuel cell technology developer and the Plastic Electronics Foundation.
Q: David - thanks for agreeing to do this interview. Since the Sumitomo acquisition, CDT has been rather quiet... can you give us an update on where's the company now, and where's it is headed?
Since the merger of CDT into Sumitomo Chemical in September 2007, CDT has grown substantially and received considerable capital investment to enable it to remain a leading developer of PLED technology. It works very closely with SCC laboratories in Japan and most recently has been transferring manufacturing process knowhow to SCC's own PLED manufacturing development line, recently commissioned at Ehime on Shikoku, Japan. CDT in partnership with SCC has made large strides in materials lifetimes and efficiencies. SCC prefers to take a lower profile in announcing these advances since its business model is to work with selected display maker partners in a collaborative, confidential relationship. We have also made big strides in the development of top emitting structures and in printing PLED displays. SCC's strategy is that CDT will continue to be its leading development center for PLED technology with Ehime scaling process technology to a yielding process status. CDT is also working very closely with Semprius of North Carolina, USA to develop single crystal silicon TFT structures on which PLED devices can be deposited and driven – using Semprius’ proprietary stamping technology.
Q: It seems that OLED displays are finally entering the mainstream - we hear of new devices (mainly by Samsung, but also from Sony, Microsoft, LG and others) almost daily. What are your thoughts on this? what are the challenges that still exist for OLEDs?
Sony broke the logjam of resistance to the adoption of OLED in large displays by major display makers with the introduction of its XEL-1 11” OLED TV in 2007. Samsung SDI’s investment in small screen OLED production in 2007, based on LTPS backplanes was another major impetus. Since then, Chi Mei has brought on small OLED screen capacity, TMD (now wholly owned by Toshiba) has built an OLED line to manufacture small screens, LG Display will start up their Gen 3.5 line late this year and if press reports are to be believed, Toppoly will commission their capacity with Nokia as a lead customer and Panasonic have a major OLED development program for large OLED displays.
Panasonic has announced that they are developing OLEDs together with Sumitomo. They aim to make 40" (or bigger) TVs by 2010. Back in 2008, Sumitomo announced plans for OLED TVs by 2009, and were seeking partners for doing it.
Cambridge Display Technology (CDT) will develop a new technology to make OLED backplanes, together with Semprius. The new tech will be integrated into CDT's 14-inch development line at Godmanchester campus, near Cambridge, UK.
Semprius has a technology for semiconductor printing, and the two companies will use the technology in the manufacturing of OLED backplanes.
PolyPhotonix, a UK based OLED-lighting startup is building its first production line. They want to make 3M efficient OLED panels with high yields. They say their main markets are automotive and architectual lighting. In fact they got their first funding through a project called MENDIP, in which Sanko Gosei (a Japanese car interior maker) is another partner.
The production line will make the OLEDs on 200x200m glass substrates, at least initially. Later perhaps they will use flexible plastic substrates.
In July 2008, I had the chance of interviewing Gildas Sorin, Novaled's CEO. Novaled is engaged in the commercialization of the new generation of OLEDs. Novaled developed an innovative doping technology (Novaled PIN OLED) enabling large area OLED display and lighting.
Novaled claims to deliver the highest power efficiencies in combination with longest lifetimes and holds several OLED world records.
Novaled, established 5 years ago, is located in Dresden, Germany. Dresden city is becoming the biggest European organic electronic centre with a network of university, R&D centers and companies acting in the organic fields.
CDT, Sumitomo Chemical and Novaled will collaborate to evaluate Novaled PIN OLED structures in Polymer OLED devices
CDT, Sumitomo and Novaled plan to co-develop hybrid OLED devices combining both new polymer emitting layers and doped electron transport layers. It is expected that these hybrid devices will offer further improvements in power efficiency without additional manufacturing complexity. The parties have reached an agreement on how IP generated during the JDA will be handled. Further, Novaled will grant a license to CDT enabling CDT to add necessary Novaled device IP to its existing and future licenses. Each company will remain responsible to market its own materials resulting from this co-development.
“CDT continues to focus its effort on supporting the PLED supply chain and is pleased to be involved in yet another joint development project which has the potential of bringing new materials and improved device performance to our licensees”, says David Fyfe, CEO of CDT.
There's a new OLED group that has just been formed - the OLED Association (OLED-A). The group is managed by Barry Young (Former senior VP, Display Search).
There are ten members in the group - Cambridge Display/Sumitomo, Corning, DuPont, Kodak, eMagin, Ignis, MicroEmissive Displays, Novaled, OLED-T, Samsung SDI, and Universal Display, and OLED-A are working to add more members.
Sumitomo now says they have been "misquoted" - they will not be able to make large OLED TVs in 2009. They are still working on the tech (with several partners), and a source at CDT (who was acquired by Sumitomo a year ago) says the displays might indeed be ink-jet "printed"