OLED production in Korea could be halted by the end of July due to Japan's restriction of free exports

A few days ago we reported on Japan's government decision to restrict some material exports, including fluorinated polyimide, to South Korea, following a diplomatic tension between the two countries.

Samsung W2019 photo

Polyimide is required for OLED production, and Japan controls about 90% of the world's production. According to a new report from Korea, Samsung and other companies have warned the Korean government that production in some plants could be halted as early as by the end of July if these materials are not available. It is not clear what is the situation of Samsung's (and LG's) OLED production.

Japan to restrict exports of some materials to Korea, could effect OLED production

Japan's government decided to restrict some material exports to South Korea. The restricted materials are fluorinated polyimide, resist - and high-purity hydrogen fluoride. Japan is the world's leader in production of these materials (about 90% of fluorinated polyimide and resist) which makes it difficult for producers to find alternatives.

These restrictions could mean that both Samsung and LG Display may find it difficult to keep OLED production at its current level. Both companies have accumulated a large stock of these materials, but if these restrictions hold up for a long time this could be a problem for the South Korean OLED makers (and a boon for Chinese OLED makers, of course).

China's first flexible semiconductor industry base project release, has the exclusive technology

The following is a sponsored post by Shaanxi Kuntech Semiconductor Technology

The press conference for the landing and launching of Shaanxi Kuntech Flexible Semiconductor Service Manufacturing Base Project was grandly held in West Fengxi New City, West Xian Xin New District, Shaanxi province on the morning of October 16, with its theme being "Shinning Shaanxi and Shaping the Future World".

Kuntech flexible AMOLED prototype photo

A number of Chinese government leaders, partners from home and abroad, as well as the media attended the event, where the duo direction foldable AMOLED display with internal and external folds developed by the R&D team was also displayed.

Tianma demonstrates its latest foldable, flexible and rigid AMOLEDs at SID 2018

Tianme had an large booth in SID, showcasing many display technologies and demonstrating its latest LCD and OLED panels. Tianma started producing rigid and flexible OLEDS in April 2017 at the company's 6-Gen fab in Wuhan, and at SID the company demonstrated its 5.5" on-cell rigid AMOLEDs now in production. Tianma told us that this display was adopted in smartphones by Lenovo and Asus.

Tianma also demonstrated several flexible OLEDs in many configurations which we will list below. Almost all of the panels were based on the same basic display - a flexible 5.99" WQHD 1440x2280 (537.5 PPI) AMOLED produced on a polyimide substrate. Tianma showed this panel in a regular design, and also in a notch-type design.

Guangzhou New Vision demonstrates its latest flexible and foldable OLEDs

China's Guangzhou New Vision demonstrated its latest flexible and foldable AMOLED displays at SID DisplayWeek. According to the company in the video below, these displays will enter production in 1.5 years.

As can be seen in the video, the company is developing flexible OLEDs with a resolution of 400 PPI on oxide-TFT backplanes and Polyimide substrates. New Vision also develops printing technologies (for both OLED and QLED displays, interestingly) - but these are still in an early stage, it seems.

Digitimes: Samsung and LG aim to reduce their reliance on foreign organic material producers

Digitimes Researcher states that currently Samsung Display and LG Display both rely on imported organic materials used in OLED production, but the two Korean makers aim to decrease this reliance. Both companies are buying stakes in companies outside of Korea (for example Samsung's Novaled acquisition and Sun Fine Chem investment) in order to obtain patents and move production in house, mostly at LG Chem and Samsung SDI.

Corning Lotus XT glass photo

The polyimide used as a substrate in flexible OLEDs, for example, is produced by Japanese Ube Industries - and used by both LG and samsung. Several organic materials used in the OLED stack are produced by Universal Display (PHOLED emitters), Idemitsu Kosan, Dow Chemical and Merck. Both companies use glass mostly from Corning and high-temperature thin film for the back-end processing from 3M.

Researchers at Tohoku University develop a super flexible liquid-crystal device

Researchers at Tohoku University in Japan developed a super flexible organic liquid crystal device, which they say are promising for next-generation highly-flexible LCD displays. The new device is formed from ultra-thin plastic (polyimide) substrates that are firmly bonded by polymer wall spacers.

Super flexible LC structure (Tohoku University)

The transparent polyimide substrate (made by Mitsui Chemicals) are about 10 um thick each, and feature heat resistance and the ability to form fine pixel structures, including transparent electrodes and color filters. The refractive index anisotropy is extremely small, making wide viewing angles and high contrast ratio possible.

Yole Developpement sees OTFT-based flexible OLEDs within 2-3 years

Yole Developpement released a new report covering the OTFT market for flexible displays and other applications. According to Yole, some display makers in Taiwan and China are currently in the process of industrializing OTFT-based displays - flexible LCDs at first, with flexible OLEDs coming within 2-3 years.

OTFT penetration for displays (2016-2022, Yole)

The mobility of OTFTs are already high enough for LCDs (higher than a-Si) - but still not enough for OLEDs. But in 2-3 years this should be resolved, with low-performance (200 PPI) OLED displays for wearables, some consumer applications and embedded automotive OLEDs possible within 2-3 years.

Screen Holdings starts making flexible OLED deposition equipment

Screen Holdings logoJapan's Screen Holdings (previously Dainippon Screen Mfg), a manufacturing equipment maker, announced that it started producing mass-production systems for OLED deposition - and began supplying these to display makers in April.

Screen Holdings is already making OLED deposition systems, but only R&D tools. The company finished the development of 6-Gen tools that can coat on polyimide substrate - for flexible OLED production.

Samsung to use a hybrid glass-polymer in its upcoming foldable OLEDs

According to reports, Samsung is gearing up to introduce their first foldable OLED smartphone device by the end of 2016, as Samsung's mobile phone unit is under pressure to innovate and recapture its lost market share.

Transistors deposited on Solip Technology's Hybrimer

According to an interesting report from Korea, Samsung has been collaborating with a KAIST spin-off called Solip Technology that developed a foldable glass that will be used in Samsung's upcoming foldable OLEDs. Samsung is considering placing a strategic investment in Solip as this material is a key technology for Samsung.