Philips sets displays free with 'paintable' LCDs

LCDs (liquid crystal displays) could become cheaper, thinner, lighter and more flexible with a paint-on LCD-making technology being developed by researchers at Koninklijke Philips Electronics NV.

Researchers at the Amsterdam consumer-electronics company say they have devised a way to "paint" LCDs. A liquid crystal-polymer mix is applied to a surface, such as a sheet of plastic film, and exposed to two doses of ultraviolet radiation, to form first the walls and then a cover for each of the display's pixels.

The process replaces the need to sandwich the liquid crystals between glass plates, which is what is done for current LCDs. Carefully connecting the glass pieces and filling the space with liquid crystals in a process called "vacuum suction," is complex, time consuming and expensive, Philips said.

With the new technique, called "photo-enforced stratification," the complete display is built from the bottom up on a single substrate by coating all functional layers on top of one other, Philips said.

The research team, led by Dirk Broer of Philips Research, has painted a passive-matrix black-and-white display measuring 100 millimeters by 100 millimeters onto a piece of glass. The next task for the team is to paint larger and better-quality displays on various surfaces, said Koen Joosse, a spokesman for Philips Research in Eindhoven, the Netherlands.

"Right now you can't compare this with what you have on a notebook PC, but this technology is suitable for high-quality LCDs. The next steps are scaling up to larger displays and showing it on different substrates, such as plastic or fabric. We also want to go to active matrix and color," he said.

Support for flexible substrates could revolutionize LCD manufacturing, now tied to the rigid glass plates. Displays on plastic foil could be manufactured in a reel-to-reel process where large sheets run continuously through the manufacturing process. This is the ultimate low-cost, large-area manufacturing solution, according to Philips.

Philips envisions displays made using its technology in phones, on clothes and even on flower vases. However, it will be years before the paint-on LCDs come out of the research labs, said Joosse.

"This technology will be in a research stage for a while," he said, adding that existing LCD manufacturing plants aren't equipped to manufacture using this new process.

Philips isn't the only one working on alternative ways to make LCDs. IBM Corp. of Armonk, New York, is active in the field, and Seiko Instruments Inc. last year used a curved display based on a flexible plastic substrate in a watch. However, Philips claims to be the only one that can make the ultra-thin paint-on displays.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Joris Evers

PC World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?