Solution-based thin film processes could lead the next display panel revolution

January 15, 2013 Ray Durling

Two recent research breakthroughs could land solution-based coating an industry-leading role in the production of next-generation thin-film transistor (TFT) flat panel displays.

Noting that common amorphous silicon TFTs do not perform sufficiently for ultra-high definition or very large LCD displays, scientists at Evonik Industries AG in December reported successful development of solution processed metal oxide semiconductors“suitable for large area deposition, such as slot-die coating or ink-jet printing, because of their ability to form smooth and homogenous layers.”

In the November 6 issue of Nature Communication, a so-called “push coating” processwas described in detail. Push coating also takes advantage of solution processibility, producing uniform large-area semiconducting polymer films over a highly hydrophobic surface with minimal material loss. The technique “improves the crystallinity and field-effect mobility of stamped semiconductor films, constituting a major step towards flexible electronics production,” according to the report’s authors.

With current TFT production driven largely by chemical vapor deposition processes, flat panel display advancements have been limited. These new techniques indicate that solution casting may help provide the scientific push and cost-effective production methods needed to bring larger and better displays to market in the near future.