As part of a federally sponsored research and development initiative, DuPont -- a leader in the development and manufacturing of organic light emitting diode (OLED) displays -- and Sarnoff Corporation have agreed to develop new organic-thin film transistor (organic-TFT) technology on plastic substrates. Organic-TFTs can offer major advances in commercializing future generation flexible display devices, such as full-color polymer-based active matrix OLED (AM-OLED) displays.

The research initiative will be sponsored as a National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Advanced Technology Program for three years. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Lucent Technologies’ Bell Labs, a leader in organic thin film transistors, will be subcontracted to develop a new class of organic-TFT materials and design processes. This unique technical collaboration combines DuPont’s expertise in OLED display panels, flexible substrates, cost-effective printing and organic-TFT technologies, and Sarnoff’s expertise in active matrix TFT designs and video display systems.

The capability of plastic-based displays provides broad applications for industrial and product designers. The technical venture plans to create flexible organic-TFT technology, which has the potential to dramatically reduce the cost of display back planes while enabling the fabrication of lower cost flexible display devices. Standard silicon-based TFT back plane manufacturing is a costly process with a need for billion-dollar facilities and it is also inherently incompatible with flexible plastic substrates – involving multiple high-temperature vacuum deposition and photolithography steps that are hostile to a plastic substrate.

Using advanced polymer materials, OLEDs produce bright, high-contrast display panels with fast refresh rates and a wide viewing angle. OLED panels are emissive, eliminating the need for the backlight required in display technologies such as liquid crystal displays (LCDs). Their striking appearance and thin profile will help many OEMs differentiate their products.

According to market research firm DisplaySearch, the flat-panel display market is estimated to grow from a current $30 billion to $57 billion by 2006. OLEDs are expected to successfully penetrate key applications including cellular phones, PDAs, Internet access appliances, industrial and consumer electronics and any other applications where bright, colorful, high contrast, thin, video capable displays are required. The development of flexible displays represents DuPont Displays’ third generation OLED products and would potentially address market applications ranging from small and medium to very large-sized displays. DuPont Displays anticipates the technology to be available by 2007. A mass production line in Hsinchu, Taiwan, was announced in August 2002 with plans to manufacture passive matrix, polymer-based OLED displays on glass. These first products will be used in hand-held mobile communication devices such as cell phones and PDAs. DuPont Displays also plans to upgrade its pilot line facility in Santa Barbara to accommodate the fabrication of flexible polymer-based OLED displays by end of 2004.

“Today the development of a cost-effective back plane technology on flexible substrate represents a formidable challenge,” said DuPont Displays Research and Development Leader Dalen Keys. “With high-caliber collaborators like DuPont, Sarnoff and Bell Labs working together, we are accelerating efforts toward commercializing moldable display devices with full-color video capability. With the combined skills, knowledge and capabilities of all three organizations, this partnership has the potential to revolutionize the displays industry.”

“Organic-TFTs are an exciting development that promises a new era in displays,” said Ray Camisa, Sarnoff Corporation’s vice president of Technology Operations. “They have the potential to transform the industry from a capital-intensive batch process on glass to a much lower cost, higher throughput process compatible with plastic substrates. We envision solutions for applications from portable devices to large area displays, and ultimately very low cost displays and bar coding for package labels.”

Sarnoff Corporation (www.sarnoff.com), based in Princeton, N.J., is a subsidiary of SRI International. Sarnoff creates and commercializes electronic, biomedical and information technology for clients worldwide. Founded in 1942 as RCA Laboratories, it produces innovations in such areas as integrated circuits, lasers, and imagers; computational drug discovery and drug manufacture and delivery; digital TV and video; vision processing software and hardware; high-performance networking; and wireless communications. Its history includes the development of color TV, the liquid-crystal display, and a leadership role in creating the new U.S. digital television and HDTV standard.

Lucent Technologies, headquartered in Murray Hill, N.J., designs and delivers networks for the world's largest communications service providers. Backed by Bell Labs research and development, Lucent relies on its strengths in mobility, optical, data and voice networking technologies as well as software and services to develop next-generation networks. The company's systems, services and software are designed to help customers quickly deploy and better manage their networks and create new, revenue-generating services that help businesses and consumers. For more information on Lucent Technologies, visit its Web site at http://www.lucent.com.

During 2002, DuPont is celebrating its 200th year of scientific achievement and innovation – providing products and services that improve the lives of people everywhere. Based in Wilmington, Del., DuPont delivers science-based solutions for markets that make a difference in people’s lives in food and nutrition; health care; apparel; home and construction; electronics; and transportation. DuPont Displays is focused on the global flat-panel display market. Based on its core competencies in polymer science and optical components, the business is building capability to develop displays that will meet the performance and cost demands of the fast paced information technology industry. DuPont Displays is investing in technology and strategic alliances to build a broad base of intellectual property and manufacturing expertise to help advance the quality of displays. For more information, please visit: www.dupont.com/displays.