Arye Lipman from imec talks OLED displays, specifically for AR/VR

"This year’s OLEDs World Summit provides an excellent opportunity to network with OLED professionals representing the entire value chain – from scientists through manufacturing specialists to marketers. While providing a program that gives a good overview of the status of this dynamic industry."

In preparation for his recently added presentation at the OLEDs World Summit 2017, Arye sat down with Smithers APEX to discuss some of the exciting new innovations that are occurring in the OLED market and current challenges, especially those coming from imec over the next few years with regards to OLED display specifically for AR/VR. 

What innovations can we hope to see from Imec over the next few years with regard to OLED display specifically for AR/VR?

Arye:  One of OLED topics that we are pursuing is ultra-high resolution patterning by photolithography. We are continuously improving both the resolution (with 1250 ppi multicolor passive display prototype and 3 um subpixel pitch proof-of-concept demonstrated) and lifetime (T75 above 200 hours after patterning of blue OLED pixels). Our aim is to increase the maturity of this technology to be relevant for manufacturing. OLED patterning by photolithography will enable side-by-side RGB OLED arrays with several thousand ppi resolution and high aperture ratio. This will open new possibilities for the next generation AR smartglasses, realized with either direct view, transparent, full FOV flat panel displays or with low-power RGB-OLED microdisplays. We are developing solutions that will enable fully immersive, 3D displays by leveraging on our experience with OLED FPDs and on extensive background of extreme semiconductor technology node scaling.

What are some current challenges you are facing?

Arye:  The challenge for all R&D players in the display industry is the fast pace at which new technologies and products are developed. In order to stay relevant, we need to find balance between distributing effort on several embryonic topics or betting on few maturing topics that we see as most promising. This, taking into account limited resources as compared to R&D departments of industry leaders, requires constant monitoring of both new scientific achievements and specification requirements of new products, as well as tackling high risk projects. Still, thanks to a very motivated team and the open innovation spirit, we manage to provide state-of-the-art results in our niches of choice and we hope to contribute to the display industry vision definition.

What would you like to see achieved with regards to the development of OLED display technologies?

Arye:  There are still several attention points in spite of impressive market penetration of OLED technology. One of them is to keep on increasing brightness/lifetime to stay relevant to emerging competitors, such as emissive quantum dots and inorganic micro-LEDs. Also, an efficient and robust blue OLED stack remains challenging. It will be interesting to see the evolution of available panel capacity and its relation to the display cost structure, as well as the form factor evolution once flexible displays become widely accessible.

What do you think this event will do for the OLED market?

Ayre:   Every opportunity to discuss with peers and foster collaboration is highly valuable. It is great to see that the event combines different angles – materials status, manufacturing perspective and end user requirements – to generate a full picture of the industry. At the same time, as it focuses on OLEDs, it is a good addition to other key events related to display technology.

 Organizers of the OLED World Summit managed to organize an interesting program with many distinguished speakers even though there are plenty of large shows dedicated to displays throughout the summer, organized by different associations and on different continents. It seems that the display field is very demanding not only in terms of technology and pace of innovation, but also in terms of event choice. We hope that this event finds an attractive place on this scene, with a clear focus on some aspects of the OLED business