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Printing Flexible Displays

With organic semiconductors and inkjet printing, Xerox PARC looks to create cheap, flexible displays.

Nevertheless, all organic semiconductors face a few common hurdles on the road to becoming commercial products. One is that multiple technologies have to be finalized around the same time in order to commercialize a system.

“There are multiple technologies — materials, deposition systems, patterning systems, encapsulation systems, and substrates — required to be readied for full commercialization,” Cruickshank says. “Without a clear plan of when OTFT backplanes will be ready for commercialization, it's difficult for suppliers of materials and process equipment to know when to commit resources to enable full commercialization. If they're not all ready at the same time, there will be a delay in commercialization of OTFT backplanes.”

In the meantime, there's also PARC's parallel project of extending a-Si to flexible substrates, which is proving to be another challenge.

“Given the length of time LCD technologies have been in the marketplace, and the vast research and development efforts directed at the technology, if there was an acceptable flexible solution, then it would have been commercialized by now,” Cruickshank says. “It would appear that their use of a-Si backplane on a flexible substrate has proved difficult to manufacture, although there are many ongoing research projects, so it still may commercialize in the future.”

Tim Kridel is a freelance writer and analyst who covers telecom and technology. He's based in Kansas City and can be reached at

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