The Dow Chemical Company and UK-based Cambridge Display Technology have reached an agreement licensing CDT’s polyfluorene light-emitting polymer (LEP) technology to Dow.
Dow and CDT had been working separately to develop polymers for use in LEP displays, which are Organic Light-Emitting Displays (OLEDs). The agreement, which is only for material intellectual property (IP), provides Dow access to CDT’s IP to polyfluorene-based LEPs and establishes guidelines for future development between the companies.
CDT will make available to Dow all of its intellectual assets related to polyfluorenes, as well as its process and scale-up knowledge. Dow will focus on LEP materials development, performance and scale manufacturing, while CDT pursues further development and licensing of its technology for LEP displays.
As Dow improves its current LEP materials and develops new products, CDT will test the materials in both its Cambridge labs and its pilot technology development facility being constructed in nearby Godmanchester, UK.
OLED displays are expected to be deployed in instrument panels and portable electronics such as mobile phones and personal digital assistants, and eventually larger displays for personal computers and consumer products, where they could overtake liquid-crystal display (LCD) technology in the future.
Several CDT licensees for device patents have announced commercialisation of LEP displays in late 2001 and others have announced the intention of doing so in 2002.
As an emissive display, LEPs need no backlight, which means they can be thinner and lighter than LCDs, as well as more power-efficient. LEP displays are also brighter with richer colour, offering sharp, high-contrast images that can easily be viewed from acute angles. Additionally, LEPs in liquid form are unique in that they can be ink-jet printed on glass and plastic, which is a technology advantage that could significantly change the way displays are produced and open new markets and opportunities.
Dow is on target to commercialise materials for fabrication of full-colour displays in 2002. Dow announced the commercial availability of its green LEP in October 2000 and plans to launch red materials by year-end and blue materials in the next nine months.
As part of the deal between CDT and Dow, CDT has made available the polyflourene blue LEP it has developed available to Dow for further development.