Taiwan is very interested in display technology for the highest volumes and, like Korea and Japan, it is prioritising OLEDs for the future. Work on other forms of printed and potentially printed electronics and electrics are less impressive with the exception of some exciting new product concepts.
Those working on OLED displays are often working on transistor technology to drive the next generation, meaning low cost flexible types where today's amorphous silicon aSi:H TFTs cannot be used because the process is high temperature. Protecting the OLED from oxygen and water is paramount given the delicate nature of today's OLED materials. For example, AU Optronics has recently presented work on photosensitive organic passivation TFTs with high anti-water absorption ability.
Here are some examples of companies and universities and some of their interests that are relevant to printed electronics.
The Industrial Technology Research Institute - ITRI - is a non-profit R&D organization engaging in applied research and technical service. It was founded in 1973 by the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) to attend to the technological needs of Taiwan's industrial development. ITRI has played a vital role in the transformation of the economy from an agriculture-based model to an industrial one. By year 2001 it has grown to a 6000 people operation, and serves as the technical center for industry and an unofficial arm of the government's industrial policies in Taiwan. Backed by its broad research scope and close industrial ties, ITRI is becoming an increasingly active member in the global industrial R&D community.
ITRI activities including OLEDs, organic and inorganic printed transistors, including pentacene based back plane driver transistor arrays for displays, RFID, and conductor patterns. The main relevant research is in the ink-jet printing of TFTs (polymer base, p-Type & n-Type), of memory (flash type), of nano-paste Ag ink for RFID and display TFTs, ink jet printing of etching resistors on CCFL (Clad copper film layer) and ink-jet printing of catalyst with following electroless plating to form copper circuits on flexible substrates. Ink-jet printing of transparent electrodes (ITO / AZO) is also researched.
Prime View International of Taiwan produces e-paper electrophoretic displays having bought the electrophoretic display business of Philips in 2005. Screen printing is employed. It supplies the display for the Sony Librie e-book with a glass display. Prime View targets these displays being 25% of its total business.
Source top image: National Sun Yat-Sen University
Read the new report Printed Electronics in East Asia