In Organic Light Emitting Diode OLED production and its technology, East Asia leads the world by a big margin, though with the older, glass-based technology and usually through license of key intellectual property from Western companies such as Kodak, UDC and DuPont. Over 70 percent of patents taken out in East Asia on printed and potentially printed components now relate to OLEDs. Consequently, when the earliest key OLED patents, mainly in the West, lapse, a considerable amount of the key intellectual property will probably be located in East Asia.
Pulling ahead in next generation OLEDs
Hard work is proceeding to make the region a leader in the next generation - printed flexible OLEDs, again using knowhow licenses from Western companies, in this case UDC and CDT in particular. However, the first printed semiconductor factory in the world was commissioned in March 2007 in Austria, not East Asia and it can handle flexible substrates. It was the Nanoident production line for photodetector arrays that are basically OLEDs in reverse.
Some Western companies are starting to sell a few flexible OLED displays. They have limited life and perhaps of more significance is the immense buildup of research on OLEDs both as lighting and as displays that is progressing across the East Asian region. A dramatic illustration of this was seen in the USA in May 20-25 2007, at one of the world's largest conferences on displays called SID INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM 2007. The presentations for the OLED session consisted of 44 from East Asia and only 33 from the whole of the Western hemisphere.
Big push on OLED lighting
Although nearly all of the publicity concerns OLED displays, many East Asian organizations have major programs on OLED lighting. For example, Hitachi, already printing antennas for RFID and many other components, presented the following this week on OLED displays and lighting and transistor drive circuits all of which are progressing to being printed.
May 20-25 2007, "2007 SID INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM", Long Beach California, the following was presented
High-efficiency White Organic Light-Emitting Diodes with a Two-stack Multi-photon Emission Structure
Shingo Ishihara, Hitachi Research Laboratory, Hitachi, Ibaraki Japan
High Mobility Solution-Processed Organic Thin-Film Transistor Array for Active-Matrix Color Liquid Crystal Displays
Masahiro Kawasaki, Hitachi, Ltd, Hitachi, Ibaraki Japan
3.0-in. High-Resolution Low-voltage LTPS AMOLED Display with Novel Voltage-Programmed Driving Architecture
Tohru Kohno, Hitachi Ltd., Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo, 100-8280 Japan
Source Top Image: Hitachi
For more see the new report, published June 2007, Printed Electronics in East Asia which profiles 138 organisations and 334 projects, with analysis.