Mobile drives display materials development in 2012

December 27, 2011 — Low-temperature polysilicon (LTPS) and indium gallium zinc oxide (IGZO) are critical materials for the production of high-performance, high-resolution displays used on smartphones and media tablets. High mobility semiconductor materials allow thin-film transistor (TFT) display panel manufacturers to shrink TFT dimensions and increase light transmission, which minimizes power consumption.

High-mobility display backplane production will grow 150% from 5.6 million square meters in 2011 to 14.1 million square meters in 2012, as multiple Gen5 and larger LTPS fabs begin production in 2012, and Sharp, LG Display, Samsung and others ramp IGZO on existing lines, according to the NPD DisplaySearch TFT LCD Process Roadmap Report.

Figure. Manufacturing capacity for high-resolution backplane production. Source: NPD DisplaySearch TFT LCD Process Roadmap Report.

"Smart phones, tablets and cost reduction are expected to be the key drivers pushing the FPD industry in 2012," stated Charles Annis, NPD DisplaySearch Vice President of Manufacturing Research. An example is Apple Inc.’s Retina Display LCD, with greater than 230 pixels per inch (ppi) resolution, using minimal device power thanks to high transmission.

Flat panel display profit margins are under a great deal of pressure, pushing LCD makers to pursue mobile-device-specific development efforts as well as cost-reduction strategies, added Annis. "High-mobility backplanes, optical alignment, high-resolution lithography and advanced LC modes are expected to be some of the most important manufacturing technology trends over the next year." All of these technologies target increasing panel transmission. With only about 4-9% of the LCD-backlight illumination making it to the front of screen, very powerful light sources are required to meet LCD brightness specifications. In addition, backlight units are the single most expensive components in large-area LCD modules. Thus, by increasing transmission, panel makers can trade off power consumption and costs.

Proprietary technology and technical expertise are required to successfully increase transmission without sacrificing yield, Annis said. "Panel makers and their suppliers are racing to create competitive advantages through manufacturing technologies to increase profitability in 2012."

The new NPD DisplaySearch TFT LCD Process Roadmap Report offers a unique and unprecedented guide to these rapidly evolving FPD manufacturing technologies. The report provides technical discussions, process flows, production status by maker, adoption forecasts for 57 technologies and analysis of benefits, opportunities, negatives and challenges. Additionally, LCD cost and performance specifications for manufacturing technologies are projected through 2016.

For more information about the new NPD DisplaySearch TFT LCD Process Roadmap Report please contact Charles Camaroto at 1.888.436.7673 or 1.516.625.2452, e-mail [email protected] or contact your regional DisplaySearch office in China, Japan, Korea or Taiwan for more information. NPD DisplaySearch is a global market research and consulting firm specializing in the display supply chain, as well as the emerging photovoltaic/solar cell industries. Visit The NPD Group provides reliable and comprehensive consumer and retail information for a wide range of industries.

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