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OLED displays to get development boost

17 Jun 2002

Opsys unveils a major investment program.

Opsys, the UK-based display company, has received funding of USD 11.2 million to implement a program of expansion and licensing agreements designed to take its organic light-emitting diode (OLED) flat graphic display screen technology forward.

The company will be setting up a new manufacturing and research facility near Silicon Valley, California, US, and also plans to expand its UK research facility. It has licensed key technology from Eastman Kodak Company and is in negotiations to license Opsys technology and products elsewhere. In addition, Opsys has made three new appointments to its board.

"By late 2002 we will be manufacturing 1 to 5 inch diagonal passive matrix displays and backlights for portable devices using both the technology we have now licensed from Kodak and our own advanced OLED developments," explained Opsys CEO Michael Holmes. Opsys is the first European company to be awarded a licence to use Kodak's OLED technology.

The company's three boardroom appointments are Prof. John Baits, previously corporate director of technology for Cable & Wireless, who becomes vice chairman; Damoder Reddy, US displays start-up veteran, who will be CEO of the US operation; and David Martin, prevoiously at IBM, who will be a board director.

Opsys was founded in 1997 to exploit ground-breaking research into OLEDs emerging from the University of Oxford. OLED displays require no backlight or other light source and so are thinner, lighter, readable over wider angles (160 degrees) and less power-hungry. They also operate over a wider temperature range and have faster response speeds than LCDs.

Funding of the initial phase of the expansion programme is being led by 3i and Quester, backed by Japanese venture capital group NIF and international investment bank Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein.

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