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Motorola unveils carbon nanotube emissive display for flat-panel TVs

Posted: 11 May 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:flat-panel tv screens? color display? nanotube emissive?

Motorola Labs, the applied research arm of Motorola Inc., unveiled a prototype color display based on carbon nanotube technology. Motorola said its prototype could lead to development of large flat-panel TV screens that cost less but sacrifice no performance compared with existing displays.

Called nano-emissive displays (NED), the technology stems from ongoing research conducted by Motorola Labs on using carbon nanotube technology for flat-panel displays. The company built the prototype after developing a scalable technology designed to grow carbon nanotubes directly on glass.

Other research efforts aimed at using carbon nanotubes to fabricate displays use a less efficient pasting method to attach the nanotubes on the glass, according to Vida Ilderem, vice president and director of Motorola's Embedded Systems and Physical Sciences Center of Excellence.

"We believe our solution is less expensive than field-emissive displays and plasma displays," said Ilderem in an interview with EE Times. "We're aiming at large displays for the TV" market.

Ilderem said the displays could be manufactured using most of the same display production equipment used for CRTs, with some modifications for chemical vapor deposition and catalyst deposition.

The 5-inch NED prototype will be displayed at the upcoming Society for Information Display Conference in Boston later this month. It measures 1/8-inch thick and has comparable or better viewing characteristics than CRT displays, according to Ilderem, who provided no specific numbers.

Shifting NED technology from the lab into production is likely to present the next hurdle for Motorola, which does not manufacture displays but licenses technologies developed in its lab to external customers. Ilderem said Motorola was in discussions with several undisclosed display makers, but declined to elaborate.

Several industry observers, including analysts Kimberly Allen of iSuppli Corp. and Barry Young of DisplaySearch Inc., said Motorola's NED technology has the potential to amke a splash in the TV market. Young cited a cost analysis conducted by DisplaySearch that estimates a 40-inch NED panel could be manufactured for under $400.

Still, Motorola faces an uphill climb in the 40-inch and higher TV market, where both rear-projection and plasma technologies are already competing and suppliers are continuing to lower prices. Moreover, LCD makers are watching this sector as their next-generation fabs continue to come online.

What's more, developers of surface-conduction electron-emitter displays (SEDs), which use field-emissive display technology, are also seeking to carve out a niche in the large TV market.

Canon and Toshiba formed a joint venture company, SED Inc., last October to produce SED technologies the partners have been developing for several years.

- Spencer Chin

EE Times

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