Wednesday, December 10, 2008 by Ika Devita Susanti
December 10, 2008, 6:02 PM
HP, in cooperation with the Flexible Display Center (FDC) at Arizona State University showed off a prototype display this week that is paper-thin, flexible, and extremely energy efficient.
The technology for a full-color "e-paper" display, the consortium said, is approximately three years away from even being field tested.
The FDC began work on a portable battlefield information screen in 2004 with a grant from the US Army. All of the current consumer "e-paper" devices (Amazon Kindle, Sony Reader, Plastic Logic Reader, etc.) use technology gleaned from FDC research, and the demo units are comparable to those commercially available E-ink displays: thin, light, and black-and-white.
So what exactly was HP showing off this week, then?
Since each flexible display is the result of a number of companies' innovations working together, HP's contribution is neither outwardly visible, nor is it simple. It is the lithographic process used in these flexible displays.
HP's Self-Aligned Imprint Lithography (SAIL) technology is a milestone for the project because it does not use photosensitive material to transfer patterns onto the substrate. In integrated circuitry, the photolithographic process can be used to build connections on the wafer, and the process often needs to be repeated on the same chip multiple times.
While displays were first completed using SAIL in May, the fabrication process is now ready for licensing, so third party manufacturers can produce e-paper displays without using photolithography, thereby stripping out a substantial portion of the materials cost in manufacturing.