Novel Zero-Power Display Technology from Halation Photonics

Aug152012

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.

Halation's Electronic Shelf Labels

Dan Sun, who studied liquid crystal materials while pursuing his Ph.D. at Cambridge University, and Liuwen Duan, a college classmate and Wharton MBA graduate, teamed up to launch Halation Photonics in 2007. Combining Dan’s technical capabilities with Liuwen’s management and financial proficiency, the pair set off to commercialize multi-stable liquid crystal technology as a potentially game-changing approach for future glass and display applications.

Starting with just an idea on paper, Halation has moved quickly, producing compelling prototypes and attracting commercial partners. Halation’s first product, which is now in production, is a reflective electronic shelf label that requires very low power and is suitable for refrigerated and non-refrigerated applications. Halation’s shelf labels significantly improve product labeling and pricing accuracy and have been very well received by grocery operators in China.

Halation's Bistable Transparent LCDOther Halation products, which are in the fully-functional prototype stage, will be privacy window films, and reflective and transparent color displays. While there are currently reflective e-paper displays available, most are slow, limited to black and white images, and leave much to be desired in the visual experience. Halation’s reflective displays are intended for next-generation e-readers that are vibrant and interactive. The company’s transparent display technology is also targeted to enable informative smart mirrors and windshields that can help us navigate our busy lives.

Companies like Halation are exactly why Applied Ventures established a presence in China. As a center of manufacturing and production, it is logical that genuinely differentiated technology would follow. Emerging innovation, combined with China’s operational efficiency, is a perfect storm of opportunity for a value-added investor like Applied Ventures to leverage Applied Materials’ market and technology expertise and to help these innovative start-ups to accelerate the commercialization of their products. We look forward to our collaboration with Halation and hope to make many more similar investments as we expand our footprint in China.