Innovation is thriving in flat panel displays thanks to robust consumer demand for digital devices such as smartphones, tablets, e-readers and 3D televisions. As this revolution moves forward, demand for a new generation of displays – thinner, lighter, more energy efficient, flexible and offering higher resolution – is also appearing. As a result, new, power efficient display technologies offering high resolution are reaching the mass production phase.
In support of this trend and entry into the next generation display era, Air Liquide recently strengthened its position with each of the flat panel market innovation segments, signing multiple contracts and enlarging its gases & services offer.
Air Liquide has been selected to supply the ultra-pure carrier and electronic specialty gases to three new cutting-edge fabs manufacturing advanced display technologies (such as AMOLED*, LTPS*, MEMS*, and OLED* backlighting). These fabs are located in Singapore, in Japan and in Taiwan. The displays produced will be integrated in the upcoming new generation of smart phones and tablets.
Air Liquide has also been chosen to supply electronic specialty gases, equipment and installation, and on-site total gas management services for two new large-scale fabs in China that manufacture large Gen 8.5 panels. These gases will be provided by Air Liquide Electronic Centers strategically located in Asia.
The recently signed contracts confirm Air Liquide’s global position as a strategic supplier to all display industry technology segments.
In parallel, Air Liquide is partnering with leading customers to develop novel precursors, gases and innovative packaging solutions that help resolve industry challenges in deposition, ion implantation and encapsulation.
Michael J. Graff, Group Vice-President Americas, also in charge of supervising the Electronics World Business Line and a member of Air Liquide’s Executive Committee commented: “New display technologies offer energy conservation, greater mobility and high performance to consumers. We are proud of the confidence the display industry places in Air Liquide as both a key supplier to its large new fabs and as a partner in innovation. These new contracts reinforce our position in the fast-growing flat panel industry and attest to the competitiveness of our gases and services offer. High Tech is a growth driver of the Air Liquide Group.”
*Flat Panel Technologies
TFT-LCD (Thin-Film Transistor Liquid Crystal Display) uses liquid crystal to control light transmission at the sub-pixel level.
LTPS (Low Temperature Poly-Silicon) and IGZO (Indium Zinc Oxide) are highly conductive materials that enable the fabrication of smaller TFTs for high resolution screens.
OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diodes) are polymers that emit red, blue or green light in response to an electrical current. AMOLED refers to the use of an Active TFT Matrix array, in this case made of LTPS or IGZO, to control each OLED sub-pixel light emission.
MEMS (Micro Electro-Mechanical Systems) displays are microscopic movable mirrors or light shutters.
Those technologies are currently under commercial development.
The use of gases in flat panel industries
High purity gases are used in the manufacture of the Thin Film Transistor (TFT), which lies at the heart of the FPD technologies: the main role of nitrogen (N2) is to ensure a clean process environment. Electronics Specialty Gases (ESGs), along with other carrier gases, are used either to deposit, clean or functionalize the material layers that constitute the TFT.