I’m delighted to share that Applied Materials is being recognized by the renowned engineering authority IEEE with the 2013 Corporate Innovation Award for the company’s leadership in innovative plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition technology for flat panel display manufacturing.
Why is a smartphone like a hummingbird? Neither can go more than a few hours without refueling, or bad things happen. (If you answered that smartphone owners are often forced to flutter around looking for a power outlet, I’ll accept that, too.)
Do you know where the power goes? As the graphic shows, around half your battery is spent on the display alone. And of that, the vast majority is used simply to power the backlight that all LCDs need. (The situation for AMOLED displays is similar, but for different reasons. That’s a subject for a future blog.)
Clearly, improving the power efficiency of the display is a powerful way to improve battery life. Turning the brightness down isn’t a helpful strategy. Indeed, we expect displays to be brighter and richer all the time, but not at the expense of already limited battery life. (Bigger batteries would also work, but the market has spoken on that one. Slim is in!)
How is this to be accomplished? Find out after the jump.
In recent years we have seen flat screen TVs growing bigger and bigger and their capabilities continuously improved. Full high definition (HD) screen resolutions of (1920x1080 pixels) are now standard with many panel makers showcasing or announcing larger ultra-definition resolution screens. At the same time refresh rates are increasing, providing a better appearance of moving images and 3D TV.
Consumers today can choose from a large variety of huge screens providing extremely crisp and detailed images at very high refresh rates. Most recently, large OLED TVs have started to reach the market. However, fabricating these high-performance displays represent a big challenge to the panel makers since they need to figure out a way to drive all these pixels integrated on very large areas with sufficient speed and low power consumption.
Picture a future where your bathroom mirror doubles as an information resource, displaying the weather forecast and your daily agenda, and where your vision is precisely enhanced by tunable eyeglasses and windshields. This is a future that Halation Photonics aims to enable. Applied Ventures is proud to join Halation as an investor.
The majority of mobile devices today use LCD screens. While these displays are certainly a technical marvel, next generation devices will demand higher efficiency displays that consume significantly less power.
Unlike traditional displays that require a backlight and a constant power source, Halation’s multi-stable liquid crystal displays do not require any power to hold an image. In this video, Dan Sun, Halation’s chairman and CTO, explains Halation’s innovative technology and some of its applications.
With 15 years of experience in the Display industry at Applied Materials, I have witnessed firsthand the dynamic advances that have taken place in display technologies. But as remarkable as these advances have been; the excitement and promise of displays are their ability to allow for the interaction of the shared human experience.
Last Friday marked one of the great anniversaries in the history of live broadcast television, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to reflect on this moment in time and briefly describe the giant leaps made in display technology over the last 40 years.
[Updated February 13, 2013 because metal oxide backplane technology has improved since the original post was published. See question 7.]
There has been a huge amount of interest and discussion around new LCDbackplane technologies, particularly about metal oxide. Following on from my first post on the subject last week, I thought it might be useful to answers some of the questions I’ve been hearing most often.
1. Amorphous Silicon (a-Si) has been the dominant transistor backplane technology for displays the last 20 years. Why are new technologies necessary?
Changes are being driven primarily by the demand for higher resolution and faster refresh rates. The most important transistor parameter is electron mobility. Electron mobility of a-Si is very low (around 1cm2/Vs) and is at the edge of the physical ability to support high refresh rates such as 240Hz for high definition television. (Just in case you need a reminder, as this graphic shows, each transistor is basically an on/off switch that controls each red/green/blue subpixel and 240Hz refers to 240 switches per second.)
The display industry is in the middle of one of the most significant technical transitions of the last 20 years and it is also mostly invisible to the average consumer. It has all to do with the advances taking place in transistors – the electronic switches that control the display’s picture, providing clarity and crisp imagery.
Every pixel on your LCD screen is turned on or off by a transistor. The complete array of pixel transistors is known as a backplane, as you can see in the graphic. Clearly, the performance of the backplane directly affects the quality of the display for your TV, smartphones and tablet PCs. How fast the switch can be turned on and off refers to the refresh rate and the total number of pixels on the screen equals picture resolution.
Today, there are three backplane technologies, which we call amorphoussilicon (a-si), low temperature poly-silicon (LTPS) and metal oxide (MO). If you are buying a TV, should you care what transistor technology is in it?
Applied Materials was named among Technology Review’s 2012 TR50, which lists the world's 50 most innovative companies, for the third consecutive year. Applied is recognized for “helping lower the cost of solar power through a new innovative manufacturing system that allows solar producers to increase the output and efficiency of their cells.”
If you've ever wondered where TV screens are born, then look no further - the answer is Applied Materials! The January issue of Wired UK magazine showcases Applied’s display technology and how it makes a flat panel LCD display. The issue is also available in Wired UK’s iPad edition, which can be found on Apple’s Newsstand store and features a video tour of Applied’s factory in Taiwan (also shown above).
The 2012 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) as usual was crazy big, and with a few key exceptions (Apple comes to mind; everyone flocked to Las Vegas to demonstrate the latest gadgets and gizmos including, the latest display products. These included mobile devices - both smart phones and tablet PCs; notebook computers and TVs.
The goal of this post is to help you better understand industry terminology and highlight the latest products at this year’s CES enabled by Applied’s display technology.
I attended the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas last week for the fifth straight year, and as always, it was dazzling. CES is where the major consumer electronics makers reveal the new products they are planning to release in the upcoming year. This year the major featured trends included new tablet PCs from a variety of makers, amazingly sleek and lightweight “ultrabooks”, more and better 3-D products, and interactivity through gesture recognition. However, this year the most stunning theme was large, beautiful TVs using a variety of technologies. Naturally, this is what interested me the most and in this blog post I’ll tell you why and about the trends for 2012.
Applied Materials has a long history of supporting arts in our neighborhood communities and this year we had the pleasure to collaborate with San Jose State University (SJSU) to design our 2011 Holiday E-Card.
A team of young, impressive, and highly creative students from the Animation/Illustration’s “Shrunken Head Man Club” within SJSU’s Art Department did an outstanding job of creating a family (literally) of semiconductor and LCD enabling products and made them come to life in a fun and whimsical way.
Left to Right: Appliance with Veneer glass; 75” Smart 3-D TV by Samsung; AUO’s 32” Metal Oxide TFT OLED; 85” 8K4K Super Hi Vision by Sharp.
At this year’s FPD International show the displays on exhibit were larger, thinner, of higher resolution, smarter, touchable and energy efficient. In this blog post I’ll attempt to give you a glimpse into the latest and greatest display technology I saw on exhibit at the show.
At the FPD International 2011 show touchpanel applications were everywhere. While the focus was on mobility devices such as smartphones and tablet PC’s; evidence was everywhere that touch is moving to larger applications soon, such as interactive “smart” TV and even a new cool app called “appliance veneer glass” — I’ll describe this in more detail in an upcoming blog post. All of the exhibitors with new mobility device displays touted high resolution and low power consumption as key features.
Applied Materials’ is at FPD International in Yokohama, Japan this week from October 26-28, presenting the theme “Enabling an Interactive Visual World.” Prominently featured at this year’s show is the AKT-20KPX PECVD system for high mobility backplanes driving smartphones and tablet PC’s and the Aristo Twin PVD for touch panel applications.
Active matrix organic light-emitting diode (AMOLED) displays have been available on high-end smartphones for a while now, and there has been a lot of speculation about when we’ll start to see tablet devices equipped the same screen technology. I would like to take a closer look at why AMOLED technology is so hotly anticipated.
OLED displays use an alternative pixel-lighting mechanism compared to liquid crystal display (LCD) - a mechanism that is simpler in concept and offers advantages over LCD, but introduces numerous technological challenges that display manufacturers are working to overcome.
Just this year, we have seen a virtual explosion of touch panel growth fueled by the world’s seemingly insatiable appetite for touch-enabled devices. It is hard to say whether this growth will be tempered or continue amidst the promise of even greater adoption of mobility devices and invention of new “must have” products. In either case, touch technology is now a permanent member of the flat panel display family.
I marvel at how the industry has evolved over the past few years. Three years ago, I had the opportunity to take a position as Head of our Web Products Group in Germany (the group that makes our roll-to-roll vacuum deposition tools). At that time we strengthened our focus on Flexible Electronics, looking at opportunities in flexible solar, displays, printed circuit boards and several different transparent conductor-based applications including touch screen elements. Ironically, the team had already been addressing this market for years, with sales of roll-to-roll sputtering tools for indium tin oxide (ITO) since the early 1980s, but it had remained relatively small and stable due to modest annual growth in resistive touch technology.
Dow Jones recently reported on the future of tablet and smartphone displays. As the leading equipment supplier to the display industry, Applied Materials was called on to lend comment to the trends and technologies that will be driving the industry in the coming years.
Earlier this week I gave the keynote speech at the Emerging Display Technologies Conference in San Jose, Calif. and discussed the five waves of demand for the display industry and where we’ll be headed in the near future.
The 2002 hit movie, Minority Report is the ultimate precursor for the use of touch panel displays today. As you may remember, Tom Cruise’s character is being blamed for a pre-crime that he has not yet committed and manages to stay one step ahead of the police using a multitude of touch panel displays as a control center dashboard with information at the touch of a finger.
Today’s reality is not so far removed from this promise of touchscreen technology. Smart phones and tablet PCs are the most prolific applications for touch panel today. A touch interface allows one to interact directly with a display without the use of a keyboard or mouse and is an enabling technology for the mobile display market which will have sales of around 60 million tablets and 500 million smartphones out of a total of close to 1.7 billion mobile phones in 2011 according to published reports. Almost all tablets and smartphones have touch displays, and touch panel penetration in conventional mobile phones will surpass 50% by 2014.