Whitney Gaynor, CEO and co-founder of Sinovia Technologies, specializes in printing OLEDs using a roll-to-roll process, similar to how newspapers are printed using a printing press. In this demonstration, Whitney showcases segmented displays that convey information from smart products to users.
Using their proprietary material and flexography, a contact printing method employing a rolling rubber stamp, Sinovia can print custom OLED designs in various shapes and patterns, including pixel matrices, icons, logos, and segments tailored to specific applications. These OLEDs operate on a passive matrix system, with rows driving the display.
Whitney then presents their impressive eight-stage printing press, located in their San Carlos, California clean room. They have achieved print speeds of up to 50 meters per minute, demonstrating the high throughput capabilities of their technology.
The video explores the flexographic plates used by Sinovia, which define the printed OLED patterns. These plates are wrapped around cylinders on their printing press and are instrumental in stamping the OLED material into specific patterns. Sinovia’s roll-to-roll process allows for efficient printing of multiple layers, including cathode evaporation and encapsulation, resulting in a stack of OLED layers with overlapping anode and cathode patterns.
Addressing the reliability of their OLEDs, Whitney assures viewers that Sinovia utilizes state-of-the-art, commercially available light-emitting materials. These materials offer operational lifetimes ranging from 10,000 hours to 50% brightness and have shelf lives of approximately five years. Through ongoing testing, Sinovia aims to achieve a remarkable 10-year operational field lifetime.
The affordability of their displays is another crucial aspect discussed. Thanks to their printing technology, Sinovia can precisely place materials with minimal waste, making it cost-effective. Compared to traditional evaporation methods, where a significant amount of material is lost on chamber walls, Sinovia’s printing process eliminates this issue. They can create customized OLEDs even at low volumes, offering a more accessible option for smart product manufacturers previously unable to afford high-end OLED displays.
Whitney addresses the cost of manufacturing custom OLEDs, explaining that the price depends on the size and yield. While they are not yet in mass production, Sinovia estimates that their custom OLEDs could cost just a few dollars. Additionally, when asked about the possibility of printing active matrix OLEDs, Whitney expresses optimism for the future. Currently, printable materials with sufficient mobility for active matrix OLEDs are not available, but ongoing research on roll-to-roll oxides and tunnel junctions offers promising potential.
Based in San Carlos, California, Sinovia Technologies is a startup in the OLED industry. Although not yet famous, they are excited to present their groundbreaking technology at Display Week, their first-ever conference. Whitney shares their positive experience so far, with numerous interested parties exploring potential partnerships and applications. Even representatives from a space company have shown interest, envisioning applications for spacesuits.
Regarding power consumption, Whitney highlights that Sinovia’s OLEDs have power consumption similar to traditional LEDs rather than LCDs. The directly driven segmented designs allow for precise control of the OLEDs by adjusting input voltage or current density. This control results in a more efficient power consumption, closer to LEDs than backlit LCDs.
In terms of printing technology, Sinovia’s approach is unique compared to other OLED printing methods. While most companies rely on inkjet printing, which requires photolithography for defining wells, Sinovia’s process is completely additive. They avoid batch processes and instead employ a continuous roll-to-roll approach from start to finish, allowing for efficient production.
When asked about the timeline for mass production, Whitney explains that Sinovia can already demonstrate their technology and print custom demos. They anticipate entering mass production next year for full OLEDs and expect to achieve full active matrix displays in the coming years. Sinovia acknowledges that improving resolution and registration are key factors for advancing their technology.
The issue of burn-in, commonly associated with OLED displays, is addressed. Whitney assures that Sinovia’s OLEDs utilize state-of-the-art emitters from commercial material supply partners, minimizing burn-in risks.
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