CORDIS
EU research results

CORDIS

English EN
Flexible Displays

Flexible Displays

Objective

Rolling out market-ready flexible displays

Flexible displays that can be bent, rolled up or even attached to clothing have long captured the imaginations of film-makers. Now they are making the leap from science fiction to science – and consumer – reality.

Displays akin to the newspapers with moving images seen in films such as Minority Report and the Harry Potter series could soon become everyday items thanks to the work of a consortium of European companies and research institutes.

Working in the FlexiDis project, researchers have created the world’s first production-ready method of manufacturing flexible displays. The research has also triggered several spin-off initiatives that should result in commercial products on the market in the near future.

The goal, say the researchers, is not to compete directly with the rigid flat panel displays that have become a common addition to consumer electronics devices, but to start introducing products in novel market areas and even create new markets that could not exist without the technology.

From supermarket displays to e-paper

Flexible displays could, for example, be used to display prices on supermarket shelves, wrapped around vehicles for advertising or attached to the arms of jackets to provide people with location information.

Or they could be incorporated into mobile phones or laptop computers and rolled out when the user wants a bigger, higher resolution screen for watching a movie or looking at architectural drawings.

One of their first uses will be as e-paper, which can be used as rollout displays for reading a book, viewing a digital map or catching up on e-mails on the fly.

E-reader applications are already being developed by two companies spun-off during the FlexiDis project. One is Polymer Vision, set up by project partner Philips. The other is Plastic Logic, established by the University of Cambridge.

Breakthrough manufacturing method

Meanwhile, another partner, Thales Avionics LCD, is using the technology to develop new displays for the avionics industry.

At the heart of the success of the FlexiDis project is a breakthrough in the method used to manufacture flexible displays, allowing them to be produced cost-effectively in existing factories built to make flat panel displays.

Called EPLaR (Electronics on Plastic by Laser Release), the technology works by depositing thin-film transistors (TFTs) – the components that control the state of each pixel in a display – in a plastic layer coated onto a glass plate.

The plastic is a special kind of polymer called polyimide that can resist the high temperatures needed to make the TFTs. It is then pealed from the glass plate using a laser process to create an ultra-thin, light and robust display that can be bent or rolled up like a magazine.

Developing the technology

The partners also experimented with using organic TFTs, which can be deposited at lower temperatures to allow more types of plastics to be used. They tested organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs), which emit their own light from each pixel rather than using liquid- crystal pixels that filter light from a background source.

Currently three out of four factories in the world producing flexible displays are in Europe. All four use technologies developed by the FlexiDis project.

Coordinator Contact

Eliav I. HASKAL (Dr.)

Coordinator Contact

Eliav I. HASKAL (Dr.)

Coordinator

PHILIPS ELECTRONICS NEDERLAND B.V.

Address

Professor Holstlaan 4 (Wy5-38)
5656 Aa Eindhoven

Netherlands

EU Contribution

€ 4 105 105

Administrative Contact

Eliav Haskal (PH.D)

Participants (27)

Sort alphabetically

Sort by EU Contribution

Expand all

INTERUNIVERSITAIR MICRO-ELECTRONICA CENTRUM VZW

Belgium

EU Contribution

€ 355 468

ECOLE POLYTECHNIQUE FEDERALE DE LAUSANNE

Switzerland

EU Contribution

€ 771 479

DEUTSCHE THOMSON-BRANDT GMBH

Germany

EU Contribution

€ 258 900

UNIVERSITAET STUTTGART

Germany

EU Contribution

€ 1 056 310

BAYERISCHE MOTOREN WERKE AKTIENGESELLSCHAFT

Germany

EU Contribution

€ 111 247

PROTEC PROCESS SYSTEMS GMBH

Germany

EU Contribution

€ 95 000

NOVALED GMBH

Germany

EU Contribution

€ 188 281

DEUTSCHE THOMSON OHG

Germany

EU Contribution

€ 270 136

LEGO SYSTEM A/S

Denmark

EU Contribution

€ 8 176

NOKIA OYJ

Finland

EU Contribution

€ 400 688

STMICROELECTRONICS SA

France

EU Contribution

€ 248 750

CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE

France

EU Contribution

€ 469 603

COMMISSARIAT A L'ENERGIE ATOMIQUE

France

EU Contribution

€ 1 440 310

UNAXIS FRANCE SAS

France

EU Contribution

€ 166 317

PJDO SAS

France

EU Contribution

€ 126 578

THOMSON R & D FRANCE SNC

France

EU Contribution

€ 663 572

THALES AVIONICS LCD SA

France

EU Contribution

€ 522 000

CONSIGLIO NAZIONALE DELLE RICERCHE

Italy

EU Contribution

€ 319 247

LATVIJAS UNIVERSITATES POLIMERU MEHANIKAS INSTITUTS

Latvia

EU Contribution

€ 144 480

ASML NETHERLANDS B.V.

Netherlands

EU Contribution

€ 130 112

IREX TECHNOLOGIES B.V.

Netherlands

EU Contribution

€ 111 719

PLASTIC LOGIC LIMITED

United Kingdom

EU Contribution

€ 734 587

POLYMER VISION LIMITED

United Kingdom

EU Contribution

€ 194 249

THE CHANCELLOR, MASTERS AND SCHOLARS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE

United Kingdom

EU Contribution

€ 390 888

PHILIPS ELECTRONICS UK LIMITED

United Kingdom

EU Contribution

€ 446 610

AVECIA LIMITED

United Kingdom

EU Contribution

€ 53 276

MERCK LTD

United Kingdom

EU Contribution

€ 281 237

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 004354

Status

Closed project

  • Start date

    1 October 2004

  • End date

    31 March 2008

Funded under:

FP6-IST

  • Overall budget:

    € 25 712 261

  • EU contribution

    € 14 320 000

Coordinated by:

PHILIPS ELECTRONICS NEDERLAND B.V.

Netherlands