Samsung Display is showing interest in an OLED panel production technology that doesn’t require the use of masks. A high-level Samsung executive recently visited its equipment supplier Applied Materials’ headquarters in the US to discuss JDI’s eLEAP technology; a technology that could be ideal for future Apple devices.
Developed on the back of JDI’s design and process know-how accumulated over many years, eLEAP solves the burn-in and short lifetime problems of conventional FMM OLED, and realizes higher aperture ratio, higher peak luminance and higher resolution, while maintaining properties of conventional FMM OLED in terms of thinness, lightweight, high contrast, and fast response times, according to JDI documentation that Patently Apple discovered. This could be an ideal OLED upgrade for Apple devices in the future.
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According to a supply chain report by The Elec, Samsung Display and other OLED panel manufacturers currently use fine metal masks, or FMM, to deposit red, green and blue organic materials in vapor form on the substrate.
These masks are difficult to manufacture, and their quality determines the yield of OLED panels, which has been the case for Gen 6 (1500x1850mm) OLED panels. Japan’s Dai Nippon Printing is the dominant supplier of FMMs.
The issue of FMM is sensitive to Samsung Display as their quality will determine the yield for Gen 8 (2200x2500mm) OLED panels, which is yet to be commercialized. If there is a more convenient way to manufacture the panels without the masks there is no reason for the South Korean display panel maker to not take it.
Yet JDI is a rival panel maker, and this is likely why Samsung Display asked about eLEAP indirectly to Applied Materials, which supplies deposition machines to the Japanese company.
Sources said there are currently multiple views inside Samsung Display on eLEAP: some want to be open to the technology while others want to prevent its competitor from commercializing the technology. Source: The Elec.
Should Apple's display team deem this a next-gen OLED display technology that they want to use for certain future devices, Samsung and LG Display will have to prepare to service Apple's needs.
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