Samsung Display is showing interest in an OLED panel production technology that doesn’t require the use of masks, TheElec has learned.
A high-level executive of the South Korean display panel maker recently visited its equipment supplier Applied Materials’ headquarters in the US to discuss JDI’s eLEAP technology, which stands for environment positive lithography with maskless deposition extreme long life, low power, and high luminance any shape patterning.
The Samsung Display executive also discussed microdisplays, or display panels under 1 inch in size, with Applied Materials, they added.
JDI’s eLEAP technology was showcased in May and is unique in that it doesn’t use masks. The company has claimed that OLED panels made with the technology offer triple the life span and double the luminance of current OLED panels made with masks.
Samsung Display and other OLED panel manufacturers currently use fine metal masks, or FMM, to deposit red, green and blue organic materials in vapor form on the substrate.
These masks are difficult to manufacture and their quality determines the yield of OLED panels, which has been the case for Gen 6 (1500x1850mm) OLED panels. Japan’s Dai Nippon Printing is the dominant supplier of FMMs.
The issue of FMM is sensitive to Samsung Display as their quality will determine the yield for Gen 8 (2200x2500mm) OLED panels, which is yet to be commercialized. If there is a more convenient way to manufacture the panels without the masks there is no reason for the South Korean display panel maker to not take it.
JDI had claimed that eLEAP can be used for Gen 6 as well as Gen 8 OLED panel production.
JDI is a rival panel maker and this is likely why Samsung Display asked about eLEAP indirectly to Applied Materials, which supplies deposition machines to the Japanese company.
Sources said there are currently multiple views inside Samsung Display on eLEAP: some want to be open to the technology while others want to prevent its competitor from commercializing the technology.
Samsung Display, the world’s largest manufacturer of OLED panels for smartphones, is a big buyer of equipment and could ask its suppliers to not exclusively supply certain kits to certain display makers.