A new type of LCD that does not require polymer orientation films has been developed by researchers within the country. This technology will enable the creation of thiner and higher definition display.
Prof. Hee Tae Jung form KAIST’s biochemical engineering department led the research and Hyun Soo Jung, Hwan Jin Jeon doctoral students (1st co-authors), Doctor Yun Ho Kim from Korea Chemistry Research Center, and Prof. Shin Woong Kang from Jeon Buk University ( co-author) have participated in this research. This research has been funded by the WCU program and middle-grade researcher support program. The results of the research has been published as the online update of ‘‘Nature Asia Materials(NPG Asia Materials)” which is a sister magazine of the world renowned academic magazine ‘Nature’.
The flat display industry is the core industry leading the 21st century’s IT industry. The LCD is the main area of research. Korea is the leader of this industry, holding more than 50% of the world market. Many technologies are combined to make the electro-optic devices of the LCD function. The most important technology, which determines the indicating element’s quality and function is the technology to align the liquid crystals in one direction.
Currently, all LCD products are created by mechanically cutting into the surface of the polymer film and orienting the liquid crystal material along these cuts. However, the creation of polymer orientation films cost much time and money, and the high temperature processes necessary to stabilize the polymers does not allow for the free selection of circuit boards, and thus does not allow for the use in flexible display.
Prof. Hee Tae Jung devised a method to orient liquid display without the use of a polymer film using ITOs. Prof. Jung’s base technology has been tested on ITOs to maintain the necessary transparency and conductivity after forming a pattern with high decomposition rates and slenderness ratios.
The technology developed by the research team can horizontally or vertically align the transparent conductors without the use of polymer orientation films. Thus, the manufacturing processes have become much shortened and the LCDs can be made in much thinner from a few micrometers to a few centimeters. Also, it has a lower functioning voltage and faster response speed, showing the prospects of a high definition ultra-fast screen display development. Furthermore, this technology can be used for any type of board, and can be adjusted to a nanometer scale. This enables for its use in LCD based flexible or multi-domain modes.
Also, the transparent conductor patterning technology devised by the research team can be used not only for displays, but also for touch panels with highly increased sensitivity.
Prof. Jung said, “It was a long desire of the industry and academia to find a way to replace the polymer orientation film. This new technology does not need any polymer orientation films, and we can still use the original boards used for LCDs. This mean a lot to the industry. Also, this technology will increase the sensitivity of the touch panels for tablet PCs and smart phones. It can be used in many areas of future electronics base technology.”
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