Universal Display Corporation (NASDAQ:PANL), an innovator behind today's and tomorrow's displays and lighting through its UniversalPHOLED phosphorescent OLED technology, and the Flexible Display Center (FDC) at Arizona State University, today announced that they have strengthened their collaboration to extend to the joint fabrication of prototype active-matrix PHOLEDs on flexible plastic substrates for the U.S. Department of Army.
In addition, Universal Display announced that the company has been awarded a $650,000 U.S. Army Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II Enhancement contract to support this work.
Universal Display, a charter FDC member since its founding in 2004, and the FDC believe that their enhanced strategic relationship will accelerate the demonstration of high-performance, active-matrix PHOLEDs on flexible plastic substrates for the U.S. Army and others. Earlier this year the FDC and Universal Display demonstrated a 4.1" monochrome quarter video graphics array (QVGA) amorphous-silicon (a-Si:H) PHOLED display produced on DuPont Teijin's polyethylene naphthalate (PEN) substrate.
"Our work with Universal Display highlights the type of collaborative development taking place at the FDC and the clear benefits that the Center's model brings to technology development," said Nick Colaneri, Director of the Flexible Display Center. "Universal Display has been involved in the FDC since its inception, and together we have already achieved a number of key milestones related to flexible OLED technology, including manufacturing a functional flexible OLED directly on plastic using the Center's manufacturing process. We welcome an even stronger partnership with Universal Display with the goal of accelerating the delivery of lightweight, flexible OLED technology into the field where its benefits to soldiers will be significant."
As part of this strategic relationship, Universal Display and the FDC will work to demonstrate flexible OLED display prototypes with enhanced performance for the U.S. Army. The FDC will fabricate a-Si:H thin-film transistor (TFT) arrays on flexible plastic substrates using their low-temperature backplane and proprietary bond-debond manufacturing technologies. Universal Display will then use its UniversalPHOLED materials and technology to build full-color AMOLED displays.
"We look forward to accelerating the Army's goals to enable flexible PHOLED technology for the Soldier through the SBIR contract for barrier technology in conjunction with the joint Universal Display-FDC fabrication work," commented Eric Forsythe, Team Leader Flexible Displays and Electronics, Army Research Laboratory.
For prototypes to be delivered under the U.S. Army SBIR Phase II Enhancement Program, Universal Display will also use its proprietary encapsulation film technology to create permeation barriers on the substrate and on top of the OLED to prevent harmful moisture and oxygen from reaching the OLED device.
"With the progress demonstrated to date and the excellent work ongoing at the Flexible Display Center and Universal Display, we seek to demonstrate continued performance advances toward our goal of delivering rugged, long-lived, thin and lightweight flexible OLED display prototypes," stated Steven V. Abramson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Universal Display. "Through the continued support of the U.S. Army, flexible OLEDs have the potential to enable the development of lighter weight, thinner and more durable portable electronics for communication and data uses for military and commercial applications alike."
OLEDs offer numerous advantages when compared to today's LCDs, including a more beautiful visual appearance and thinner form factor. In addition, when using Universal Display's proprietary UniversalPHOLED phosphorescent OLED technology and materials, OLEDs can consume significantly less power than comparable LCDs and conventional fluorescent OLEDs.
One of the exciting novel features of OLEDs is their ability to be built on flexible substrates, including plastic or metal foil. Through the development of a novel low-temperature a-Si:H manufacturing process, FDC has enhanced the ability to employ commercially-available plastic substrates in the fabrication of active-matrix flexible OLEDs. Flexible OLEDs may open up a wide range of new display applications, including novel, compact and light weight information and communications systems for military and commercial applications.