Thursday, June 14, 2012

No. 536: Reducing the thickness of an organic EL display to one seventh (June 14, 2012)

Futaba successfully developed an organic electroluminescence (EL) display that is one seventh as thin as the existing organic EL displays, and will make a mass production system ready by the end of this year both in Japan and China. The thickness of the newly developed organic EL display is merely 0.29 mm, while Futaba’s existing similar product is about 2.0 mm thick. At the same time, the new product is about one tenth in weight as the existing product. A 2.7-inch display weighs only 1.3 g. The new product will easily be applied to sub-displays of smartphones and wristwatches that work together with smartphone.

It was necessary to make an organic EL display hollow architecture to prevent moisture from sticking to organic EL elements. However, Futaba developed new core materials and eliminated the hollow portion, and successfully made the organic EL display thinner and lighter drastically. The new product will be 40-50% higher in price than Futaba’s existing product. However, the company will adopt the passive matrix for the new product instead of the active matrix for the production system. The former is suitable to produce smaller than 4.0-inch displays, while the latter is suitable to build TV panels. Accordingly, the cost per the same area will be lower. Futaba acquired TDK’s subsidiary involved in the organic EL business in April, and it is accelerating research and development to restore profitability. 

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