Carrying Handheld Devices into the Flexible OLED Future
Carrying Devices into the Flexible OLED Future
Corning’s Glass Solution to a Plastic Problem
A flexible OLED device starts and ends with glass.
The final product uses a cover glass like Corning® Gorilla® Glass 5, and in many cases, a Gorilla Glass-covered back as well.
But what you don’t see when you look at your Samsung Galaxy S8 is the device’s glass beginnings.
Every consumer electronic device contains a panel – simply put, a sandwich of thin layers that create your phone or tablet’s display. For many devices, this panel is a stack of glass layers, but when it comes to OLED devices with curved or even bendable screens, polyimide – or plastic – and other malleable materials are the best fit.
So where does Corning, the industry’s glass innovation leader, come into the picture?
Corning has the glass solution to a plastic problem.
While plastic’s conformability makes it a sensible choice for the base of a flexible display panel, those same characteristics present challenges for the manufacturing process.
Manufacturing high-performance display panels requires a demanding, high-temperature process that polyimide material can’t endure on its own. It needs a high-performance displays glass – like Corning Lotus™ NXT Glass – to carry it through the process.
A worthy carrier glass should have three key characteristics to reliably endure this process and ensure a quality finished panel:
- Low total pitch variation – A glass carrier with low total pitch variation provides dimensional stability for the plastic backplane despite the high temperatures found in the LTPS manufacturing process. This low total pitch variation enables higher resolutions and better alignment of the OLED material in the display panel.
- Low total thickness variation – Similar to total pitch variation, a carrier glass with low total thickness variation enables higher resolution. Low total thickness variation provides a more uniform, and essentially flat, surface upon which the panel is built. This superior surface is required for higher resolution photo exposure equipment, allowing for denser TFT circuitry.
- High and uniform UV transmission – At the end of the panel-making process, the glass carrier must be cleanly removed from the finished panel. Panel makers use a laser to debond the plastic from the glass. For optimal results, the carrier glass should allow as much of the laser light through it, and as evenly, as possible.
Lotus NXT Glass is the industry-leading display glass in all three areas, making it today’s most popular choice as a flexible OLED carrier.