Thursday, June 7, 2012

The view from Display Week 2012: Glass tech at AGC

June 7, 2012 -- This week, I attended my first Display Week, the conference and exhibition hosted by the Society for Information Display (SID), in Boston. Organic light-emitting diode (OLED) and touch displays were predictably top of mind at many of the booths, as was lower-cost/higher-productivity/higher-reliability production.

First, to Asahi Glass Co. (AGC), a glass major supplier, to speak with Takahiro Ikezaki, VP of the Electronics Glass Materials Division. Roll-to-roll glass processing is a future technology that would enable lower-cost fab than sheet-to-sheet. Ultra-thin glass eliminates acid-based thinning steps to get the weight and thickness benefits of thin displays. However, the technology's major challenge is it requires entirely different glass handling and tools than sheet-to-sheet. In the interim, AGC proposes using carrier glass, a thicker glass sheet onto which ultra-thin glass is laminated. The benefits of thin glass -- light weight, thin displays -- are realized without the production change.

AGC also discussed the company's chemically strengthened Dragontrail cover glass. Dragontrail is chemically strengthened before the sheet is cut into panels for mobile displays, rather than the traditional method of cutting then treating. The result is equal performance but lower cost and a thinner panel. AGC noted that OLED-processing-compatible glasses -- those that tolerate higher temperatures -- are increasingly in high demand.

What’s on the docket for glass innovations? Stronger glass thanks to better bevel cutting technologies, and anti-fingerprint coatings for touch panels.

Outside of the display arena, glass manufacturing technologies could benefit semiconductor packaging (interposers) and micro electro mechanical systems (MEMS).

I visited with OLED and LCD makers at Display Week, as well as touch developers. Stay tuned for more news from the show.

-- Meredith Courtemanche, digital media editor,

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