Smartkem supplies its full stack of materials from a single layer to full transistor arrays. Materials are formulated and filtered under clean room conditions and can be supplied in pack sizes of 100 mL, 500 mL, 1 L and 3.5 L.
Smartkem has signed a joint development agreement with a Silicon Valley-based leading Quantum Dot maker, to produce a new generation of low-cost solution printed microLED and quantum dot materials for advanced displays. Using Smartkem’s high performance organic thin-film transistor (OTFT) technology with Nanosys’s microLED and quantum dot nanoLED technologies could result in the creation of a new class of low power, robust, flexible, lightweight displays. Initial validation work on the equipment, processes and materials readiness has taken place.
Smartkem has created the world’s first monolithic microLED display using its high performance organic thin-film transistor (OTFT) technology.
Smartkem has developed a new method of processing a thin-film transistor backplane on top of Gallium Nitride LEDs that has the potential to accelerate the commercialisation of microLED displays. Consumer electronics companies are actively developing microLED displays since they promise higher brightness, lower power consumption and longer lifetime. This is particularly important for portable powered displays such as smartwatches and AR/VR displays which cannot accommodate large batteries.
Today’s existing VR & AR headsets use LCD and OLED displays, lacking brightness, resolution, power efficiency and lifetime. Existing efforts at establishing microLED manufacturing use physical transfer of LEDs from the wafer upon which they are manufactured to the TFT display backplane, where they must be laser welded to the contact pad of the transistor to make an electrical connection. Since, for high resolution displays, millions of tiny LEDs need to be transferred from one place to another, then the potential for placement error is large. If a 99.9% placement yield is achieved, then a full HD colour display will have over 6,000 faulty sub-pixel LEDs that would need to be identified, removed, and re-attached. Once the 6,000 faulty LEDs have been replaced, a 99.9% yield will still mean six of these will be faulty, so your job of manufacturing a perfect display is not yet finished. It is the process of seeking out the faults and then replacing them one by one which is slowing down commercialisation of this new type of display.
Smartkem’s unique and patented core chemistry allows its semiconductor inks to be processed at the low temperature of 80°C. With Smartkem’s lower temperature, you can process its transistors directly on top of the microLEDs. This eliminates the mass transfer and laser welding processes, and the fabrication of OTFTs can use existing low-cost manufacturing tools currently used for LCD backplane manufacturing. This approach cannot be carried out with other types of thin-film transistors as they are processed at the much higher temperature of 300°C, which damages the microLEDs, and is why you need to make them separately and then laboriously join them together one by one.
Smartkem’s OTFT technology is enabling manufacturing on more cost-effective amorphous silicon (a-Si) lines. Smartkem has signed a joint development agreement with Taiwan-Based company, RiTdisplay, a leading developer of optoelectronic solutions, visual displays and PMOLED displays, to produce a full colour demonstration AMOLED display. The integration of Smartkem’s high performance organic thin-film transistor (OTFT) technology with RiTdisplay’s high efficiency OLED frontplane will create an even higher brightness and resolution display. Ths addition of OTFT technology is also expected to enable RiTdisplay to produce products with better reliability and larger in size.
Smartkem has signed a joint development agreement with a Taiwan-based company that is a leading manufacturer in the global LED industry. This collaboration is expected to lead to the development of a roll-to-roll process for the manufacture of large format LED displays, a means of significantly reducing their cost of production. Smartkem will provide its high performance organic thin-film transistor (OTFT) backplanes on a plastic substrate which, due to their flexible nature, will be suited to roll-to-roll processing. The display will be assembled by the partner company, incorporating their miniLEDs chipsets and provide encapsulation.