Arizona State University’s Flexible Display Center and HP recently announced a prototype of a flexible lightweight computer screen that stands to revolutionize computers and electronic devices. Created in a similar roll-to-roll manufacturing process as thin-film pv, these new computer screens are printed onto plastic sheets that are virtually indestructible, use less energy and are less costly to produce than conventional screens. These new displays could potentially use up to 90% less materials by volume to produce as well.
ASU’s Flexible Display Center has been working on flexible display technology in partnership with corporations as well as the US Army. HP likewise has been an innovator in many electronic technologies, including the technology that makes this new prototype possible – Self-Aligned Imprint Lithography (SAIL), which was invented at HP Labs. As HP explains, “SAIL technology enables the fabrication of thin film transistor arrays on a flexible plastic material in a low-cost, roll-to-roll manufacturing process. This allows for more cost-effective continuous production, rather than batch sheet-to-sheet production.”
Flexible displays will not only lower the cost of monitors, but will allow the invention of more advanced and smaller electronics, like electronic paper. Devices like phones, PDAs, handheld readers, MP3 players, etc, will not only become smaller and more lightweight, but also more user friendly. Imagine actually being able to read a magazine on an handheld device and not have to scroll around to read the whole article. Or being able to stash an electronic book into your bag without destroying or scratching it. This type of screen takes the Kindle to a whole new level.
Carl Taussig, director, Information Surfaces, HP Labs, says, “In addition to providing a lower-cost process, SAIL technology represents a more sustainable, environmentally sensitive approach to producing electronic displays.”