HP and the Flexible Display Center (FDC) at Arizona State University have created the first prototype of an affordable, flexible, unbreakable electronic display. The partners said the production feat is a milestone on the industry’s efforts to create a mass market for high-resolution flexible displays. The displays leapfrog conventional display processes by using up to 90% less materials by volume, they said.
The first practical demonstration of the flexible displays was achieved through collaborative efforts between the FDC and HP as well as other FDC partners, including DuPont Teijin Films and E Ink. To create this display, the FDC produced stacks of semiconductor materials and metals on flexible Teonex Polyethylene Naphthalate (PEN) substrates from DuPont Teijin Films.
HP then patterned the substrates using its self-aligned imprint lithography (SAIL) process and subsequently integrated E Ink’s Vizplex imaging film to produce an actively addressed flexible display on plastic. E Ink’s Vizplex bi-stable electrophoretic imaging film enables images to persist without applied voltage, thereby greatly reducing power consumption for viewing text.
SAIL is considered “self aligned” because the patterning information is imprinted on the substrate in such a way that perfect alignment is maintained regardless of process-induced distortion. SAIL technology enables the fabrication of thin-film transistor arrays on a flexible plastic material in a low-cost, roll-to-roll manufacturing process. This allows for more cost-effective continuous production, rather than batch sheet-to-sheet production.