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Nano-manipulation creates brighter flat panels

23 Oct 2006

New types of optical and electrical coatings will make TVs, mobile screens and flexible displays brighter and less power hungry.

A new optical technology from Braggone, Oulu, Finland, allows manufacturers of flat-panel displays to improve product performance. The novel nano-manipulation platform, based on optical and electrical coatings and nanostructures, can be implemented directly into flat-panel TVs and mobile communication device screens to give brighter displays and lower power consumption.

The Luxone range is described as "an enabler of next generation displays and flexible optoelectronic devices". The material enables the manufacture of ultrathin components such as efficient reflectors and light extractors for use inside displays.

Braggone's range includes a combination of chemistries that produce advantageous optical functions for flat panel display (FPD) applications.

Examples include light-guiding and -coupling elements, reflectors and anti-reflection type photonic crystals that can form part of existing optoelectrical FPD structures. The panel's optical efficiency is enhanced by extracting light out of the optical films, eliminating photon loss inside and between various layers of the FPDs.

"Previously, these optical and electrical layers were integrated into components through complicated and expensive high-temperature vacuum processes as well as complex patterning," Ari Karkkainen, one of the inventors of the technology and R&D director at Braggone, told optics.org.

"With our technology, the coating deposition and patterning can take place through a vacuumless process at low temperatures. Coatings are prepared in liquid form prior to processing and therefore can be deposited with standard integrated circuit and flat panel industry process tools and even with conventional printing equipment," he added.

So what are the particular application areas?

"The materials are particularly used as sub-components, layers, and nano-structures in a variety of FPD manufacturing and integration schemes," said Karkkainen. "Such products can be utilized in applications ranging from small displays for cellular phones, to liquid-crystal display monitors in personal computers, and in large flat-panel TVs.

"The materials also have applications in the flexible display and optoelectronics areas, as well as the potential to improve performance of solid state lighting, for example, in conjunction with LEDs."

Braggone has been collaborating with the VTT Technical Research Centre, also in Finland, at the latter's printable electronics and optics center, a specialist in roll-to-roll optoelectronics processing.

"We have achieved a refined printing process that provides cost-effective quality results," said Arto Maaninen, technology manager of printable electronics and optics at VTT. "We have demonstrated what Braggone's nanomaterial technology can achieve we have significantly boosted our roll-to-roll product development."

The technology's market potential is following the same trends of the rapidly growing FPD industry and its inevitable path to thinner, larger and higher resolution displays.

The main markets for Luxone products are in Asia as the majority of FPD action is currently in that part of the world. End users are typically LCD, PDP and OLED panel manufacturers or sub-component vendors of same. Braggone has also issued a US Patent for the Luxone range.

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