The partnership between FlexEnable and Merck has yielded an LCD which is completely free of glass, instead using organic transistors on a plastic sheet. Plastic LCD technology has the potential to make products ten times thinner, more than ten times lighter and cheaper than conventional glass-based displays while being shatterproof and even conformal.
The prototype was developed in a very short timeframe, and combines the key benefits of Organic Thin-Film Transistor (OTFT) technology, including superior quality and yield. Ultimately, it shows a route to low-cost solutions for volume manufacturing with LCDs, the dominant display technology in the market today. FlexEnable has now demonstrated the world’s first plastic LCD with active-matrix In-Plane Switching (IPS). It uses FlexEnable’s OTFT array as well as liquid crystal and organic semiconductor materials from Merck. While the first prototype employs an IPS mode, this concept will be equally attractive for many other liquid crystal modes and applications such as e-readers, dynamic public signage and advertising.
Indro Mukerjee, Chairman, FlexEnable, commented: “I congratulate the FlexEnable team and partners for demonstrating another example of how mature and advanced our transistor platform is. To achieve this within just months rather than years is a testament to the depth of understanding and IP we have across our toolkit of industrially proven processes. Plastic LCDs bring clear benefits where weight and thickness is key - including volume consumer and industrial markets. It also offers a route to simpler, lower cost device stacks for display makers.”
“We are very happy about this step forward as it clearly shows the enormous innovation potential the liquid crystal technology holds for us to explore. It also shows that plastic-based bendable or even flexible displays are not a dream, but a true possibility and encourages us to develop new liquid crystal modes especially for this application. Now we can also imagine how the size of LCDs can grow even further, by making them lightweight, transportable and unbreakable," added Inese Lowenstein, Head of Display Materials business unit, Merck.