Image Credit: Technology Review
Annoyed by the lack of visually stunning, energy efficient and razor thin OLED displays for your home theater? Me too. But that may soon change if the large format OLED printing technology from a Menlo Park, CA startup founded by MIT researchers takes off.
The startup, called Kateeva is testing a prototype “printer” that, according to the company, can create OLED displays at 60 percent of the cost of an LCD screen. Here’s the key to the cost-cutting manufacturing technique:
All the OLED displays on the market are manufactured using an expensive, small-scale technique called shadow-mask evaporation to lay down the light-emitting organic molecules that make up the pixels. Companies have looked into alternatives that are compatible with large-area manufacturing, such as ink-jet printing, but all the processes entail compromises on the performance and lifetime of the display. Kateeva’s technique combines features of shadow-mask printing and ink-jet printing to make high-quality OLED pixels over a large area. The company plans to sell printing equipment and OLED inks made of light-emitting small molecules.
Currenly, Kateeva’s prototype can generate OLEDs that are 0.6 x 0.7 meters in size and is aiming for production units that can pump out 1.8 x 1.5 meter displays. Not quite as big as LCDs, but way better than the relatively tiny (and expensive) OLEDs currently on the market. Be sure to catch the accompanying video at Technology Review to see Kateeva’s operation.