Toshiba, Kodak, DuPont fire up OLED displays

Toshiba America Electronic Components and the Eastman Kodak were among the companies who announced developments and displayed new wares in the organic light-emitting diode (OLED) field Monday and Tuesday at the Society for Information Display conference being held here.

OLEDs displays are displays that emit their own light, therefore requiring less power to drive them and less space to house them, as well as offering sharper, brighter images than their traditional LED counterparts. OLEDs, which do not require the backlight that many traditional displays do, are seen by many as one of the futures of low-power, flat display technologies.

At the show, Toshiba demonstrated what it claims is the world's first 17-inch (43.18 centimeter) polymer OLED display. The display sports a maximum resolution of 1280 pixels by 768 pixels and offers over 256,000 colors, Tokyo-based Toshiba said in a statement. The demonstration of the display is intended as a research and development item, with actual mass production and availability of the display as yet undetermined, the company said. Such a display could be used as a computer screen, in televisions and in other similar applications, the company said.

The company also demonstrated a 2.2-inch, 256,000 color polymer OLED screen aimed at handhelds and cell phones.

Kodak, as part of its SK Display Corp. joint venture with Osaka, Japan-based Sanyo Electric Co. Ltd., announced Tuesday the availability of an OLED evaluation kit that will allow developers to begin to test and design devices using its displays. The kit will include the Kodak AM550L display, a full-color, active matrix 2.16-inch display, an interface board, drivers, cables and instructions, the Rochester, New York-based Kodak said.

DuPont Displays, a division of E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co., and Clare Inc. said Monday that they would work together on the integrated circuits that are used to control OLEDs. The companies have already teamed on Clare's MXED 301 controller.

The devices that the two will collaborate on will feed display information to small, passive matrix OLED displays of between 1.5-inches and 5 inches in size, featuring 80 dots-per-inch to 100 dots-per-inch resolution, said Nick Colaneri, director of strategic planning at DuPont. The OLEDs driven by the integrated circuits will be monochrome and used in handhelds, cell phones, small instruments and other consumer electronics, he said. Samples of the fruits of the companies' union should be available by the end of 2002, the companies said.

DuPont also demonstrated a 4-inch active matrix color OLED display designed for Pocket PC devices, as well as a 2.1-inch, 128-pixel by 64-pixel screen, and a 2.7-inch, 160-pixel by 160-pixel screen, designed for small handsets.

Lastly, eMagin Corp. demonstrated a number of OLED products, including its SVGA+ See-Through OLED display, which allows the image on the display to transparently lay over anything behind it, and the Knight-Eye OLED thermal imager, designed to boost vision in dark, rugged environments.

The Society for Information Display show runs through Friday in Boston.

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