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OLED inkjet printer promises dramatic yield boosts

Posted: 29 Nov 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:OLED? inkjet? deposition? Kateeva? Yieldjet?

OLED manufacturing today is limited by vacuum evaporation techniques that use shadow masks for patterning. It is a simple and well-established technique, but inefficient, difficult to scale and prone to yield-killing particles, according to Kateeva, a Silicon Valley-headquartered company with operations in South Korea.

The urgency to address these challenges has increased as demand is beginning to build up for OLED panels. With 55-inch OLED TVs debuting this year, the market is ready to take-off in 2016 and reach $15.5 billion by 2020, according to Jennifer Colegrove, president, Touch Display Research. And IHS Inc. expects paper-thin, ultra-light, flexible OLEDs to grow from $21.9 million this year to $94.8 million in the next.

Applications addressed by Yieldjet

Figure 1: A structure simpler than LCD will ultimately enable cheaper production and OLED dominance, said Kateeva.

Enter inkjet printing. It enables deposition of patterned films without the need for shadow masks. Kateeva has introduced its inkjet printing equipment solution, called Yieldjet, to manufacture flexible and large-sized OLEDs in high volume. The company said the technology creates an inert environment and better controls particle contamination to boost yield.

Yieldjet applies semiconductor equipment design practice to inkjet.

Figure 2: Kateeva undertook fluidic modelling and optimisation and included a closed-loop nitrogen recirculation system operating at 2/H2O.

Yieldjet is claimed to be the only platform to have a production-worthy nitrogen process chamber. Enclosing printer in nitrogen was particularly challenging because of the need for production worthy serviceability and recovery after maintenance. Kateeva engineers sharply reduced enclosure volume for fast recovery, designed in automated maintenance without air contamination and included a closed-loop nitrogen recirculation system operating at 2/H2O.

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