OLED will transition from smartphone to computer products as large-generation fabs are planned, but evaporation equipment poses challenges, says TrendForce

OLED will transition from smartphone to computer products as large-generation fabs are planned, but evaporation equipment poses challenges, says TrendForce

TAIPEI, Taiwan, December 01, 2022–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Latest TrendForce Report—AMOLED technology and market status— points out that the display panel industry has launched plans for large-generation factories that manufacture OLED panels. The migration of OLED display technology to larger generations is driven by recent improvements in process technologies and related materials. Additionally, brands have been pushing for the adoption of OLED for larger display products. TrendForce predicts that by 2025, the penetration rate of OLED panels among computer products will reach 2.8% due to the gradual deployment of supporting panel production capacity. Then, the penetration rate of OLEDs in the computer segment should take off significantly in 2026 to reach 5.2%.

According to TrendForce analysis, panel vendors face challenges in several areas as they plan to migrate OLED panel manufacturing from existing G6 factories to larger generation factories so that this display technology can enter the IT segment. These areas are:

[1] Evaporation equipment

Regarding the selection of OLED evaporation equipment and related process technologies, some panel vendors hope that the vertical evaporation method will solve the problem of thin metal mask (FMM) sag. However, vertical evaporation is a new treatment method that still has many technical uncertainties to overcome. Regarding the existing horizontal evaporation method, panel suppliers want to see further optimizations so that they can maintain a certain level of production capacity with less equipment than before. In addition, Apple is planning to adopt the dual-stack tandem structure (Tandem OLED) which can significantly increase the lifespan of its OLED displays. From the perspective of panel vendors, setting up evaporative processing capacity in a certain manufacturing space is much more difficult if the OLED panels feature the tandem structure. However, there are alternative solutions to increase the lifespan of OLED screens. One way is to perform an OLED pixel simulation, through which a layer of blue sub-pixels are added to help achieve better color balance and longer lasting colors.

Increasing the glass utilization rate is also another goal behind the migration to larger gen fabs. For example, G8.7 currently has about a 10% production efficiency gain over G8.5. Nevertheless, target customers may have a preferred supplier for evaporation equipment. In Apple’s case, it favors Cannon Tokki from Japan. Therefore, it is possible that the sizes of OLED panel substrates will be limited by the panel sizes that Tokki’s evaporation equipment will be able to handle in the future.

When it comes to manufacturing technologies for OLED panel backplanes, LTPO offers superior efficiency in terms of power consumption. Additionally, large OLED panels will need an auxiliary electrode to support the existing transparent cathode in the pixel circuit. The auxiliary electrode allows to increase the conductivity and thus solve the problem of IR drop often observed in large panels. On the other hand, the number of photomasks used in the fabrication of a pixel circuit is determined by the locations of the electrodes, so some designs may require more masks. Also, adding a new electrode could affect the transparency of OLED panels.

[2] Foldability

If OLED is to be adopted for foldable laptops, finding the right type of material for the cover lens also requires some considerations. Currently, ultra-thin glass (UTG) is superior to colorless polyimide (CPI) in terms of performance. However, the former has shortcomings such as a higher price and a relatively less developed supply chain. Samsung has adopted the “Color Filter on Encapsulation (COE)” for the OLED screens of its foldable smartphones. This solution reduces the thickness of an OLED display by eliminating the circular polarizer, allowing for higher brightness and greater bendability. As for foldable laptops, these devices have a larger screen size and are therefore more susceptible to glare. Therefore, to effectively absorb the reflected light while abandoning the circular polarizer, a kind of “black pixel definition layer (BPDL)” is needed in addition to the black matrix resin which is embedded in the existing color filter. However, there are challenges in fabricating a BPDL because a relatively thick film that is darkened with an organic dye is difficult to form and deposit using the exposure process.

[3] Touch function

Looking at the touch function which is standard with smartphone display panels, it is more susceptible to environmental noise interference as screen size increases. In the past, mutual capacitance detection was sufficient in terms of performance. However, with OLED now being adopted for laptops with touchscreens, it may be necessary to switch to self-capacitance sensing in order to solve the problem of false touch points. However, this change in sensing technology will also involve revising the touch circuit design and the die sizes of the touch and display ICs so that the thickness of the lower screen border does not increase due to of the entire broadcast area.

[4] Image collage

At the system level, image sticking (burn-in) on an OLED display tends to occur in parts of the screen where application icons are located, since icons are static images with fixed locations. This problem related to the aging of OLED pixels has not stopped being worked on since its appearance. Anti-aging solutions now include pixel shift and tandem structure, which can halve the pixel current. In the future, OLED development may reach the point where burn-in can be effectively addressed. Until then, a dark mode with a black background and white texts could also be possible for OLED screens.

Following insight into the above-mentioned issues in manufacturing large OLED panels, TrendForce is now turning its sights towards the adoption of OLED for computing products. Overall, there are three main directions in long-term technology development.

[1] Cost reduction

Cost savings can be achieved in several ways, such as increasing the utilization rate of glass, streamlining the LTPO+COE process, optimizing the electron transport layer (ETL), developing local sources of key materials and adoption of more advanced evaporation equipment. The manufacturing cost of large size OLED panels for computer products will also drop due to other factors. For example, the price of UTG will drop as the number of suppliers for this type of material increases. Additionally, better choices might appear for the designs and materials of foldable laptop screen hinges. Finally, the printing process has the highest material utilization rate. Therefore, panel vendors will need to find ways to apply the printing process to manufacturing the tandem structure and other parts of the OLED panel.

[2] Efficiency and reliability improvements

Panel vendors will incorporate new technologies such as COE and Micro Lens Panel (MLP) to increase light emission efficiency and reduce power consumption. At the same time, they will try to extend the life of existing OLED materials. To further minimize the issue of image sticking in certain parts of the screen, the user interface should be designed to address the issue of static image content causing OLED pixels to age and degrade.

[3] A greater range of applications

The flexible, thin, self-emitting OLED panels allow different bend shapes for different usage scenarios. At the same time, they also allow integration with other technologies such as under-display camera, fingerprint sensor, etc.

In sum, OLED is gradually becoming mainstream for smartphones, but it still has many challenges to overcome in order to expand into other applications that involve larger screen sizes. Nevertheless, TFT-LCD as a traditional display technology is almost at its full maturity in terms of product design. Thus, OLED, which has more room for imagination, is an important technology that brands will focus on in the future. TrendForce believes that the next two years will be a critical period for the growth of OLED in the computer product market. The extent of improvements in related technologies and the extent of investment in supporting large-generation panel production capacity will determine whether the adoption of OLED in the computing segment will proceed smoothly.

For more details on this press release, please visit: https://www.trendforce.com/presscenter/news/20221201-11483.html

For additional insights from TrendForce analysts on the latest tech industry news, trends and forecasts, please visit our blog at https://insider.trendforce.com/

About TrendForce (www.trendforce.com)

TrendForce is a global provider of the latest technology industry developments, information and analysis. Serving businesses for over a decade, the company has built a solid membership base of 500,000 subscribers. TrendForce has earned a reputation as an organization that offers insightful and accurate analysis of the technology industry through five major research departments: Semiconductor Research, Display Research, Optoelectronics Research , green energy research and ICT applications research. Founded in Taipei, Taiwan in 2000, TrendForce has expanded its presence in China since 2004 with offices in Shenzhen and Beijing.

See the source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20221201005459/en/


Mrs Esther Feng
Tel: +886-2-8978-6488 ext. 667

Ms. Pinchun Chou
Tel: +886-2-8978-6488 extension 669

#OLED #transition #smartphone #computer #products #largegeneration #fabs #planned #evaporation #equipment #poses #challenges #TrendForce

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *