Theme: Organic EL Display Film Technology

DNP technologies support organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays

OLED displays offer excellent color reproduction compared to liquid crystal displays. Also, because they are based on self-luminescent organic substances that can deliver high-performance from a simple structure, many people consider them to be innovative components that will enable production of lighter, thinner, more energy-efficient devices.

The reason OLED displays are attracting attention as displays for next-generation devices is the expectation that they will enable the production of bendable and curveable products.

Metal masks supplied by DNP are essential to the production of an OLED display’s core. DNP also produces and sells specialized films with optical functions that make OLED displays even more appealing to the eye. To make these optical films with their specialized functions, we employ the liquid crystal coating technologies that we developed by synergizing materials technologies with precision coating technologies that it has cultivated over the course of many years.

Expansion of the OLED display market and the new value that DNP provides

OLED displays are being heralded as the display for next-generation devices to follow liquid crystal displays.

Because these innovative displays can emit their own red, green, and blue light by means of special elements composed of an organic substance, they can deliver much better color reproduction and contrast compared to displays made with the currently prevalent liquid crystal technology. Therefore, usage of OLED displays is increasing in a wide variety of settings, from digital signage seen on street corners to large-scale televisions, smartphones and even small wearable devices.

OLED displays have disadvantages: their contrast can decline markedly as a result of reflected sunlight or other external light, and the colors they display appear differently when viewed from a diagonal position. Therefore, to eliminate these drawbacks, DNP has developed a special optical film. This film—called “retardation film” for OLED displays—was first realized by using a special liquid crystal material developed in-house together with proprietary precision coating technologies. Today, DNP’s retardation film is used in a large number of international brand smartphones and televisions.

Making the most of our strengths in various printing technologies to support the future evolution of OLED displays

Left: With circular polarization plate/Right: Without circular polarization plate (Image)

Based on the various technologies we have cultivated through our printing business, we have developed products aimed at helping make OLED displays more popular.

Manufacturing OLED displays involves lining up light-emitting elements made of organic material to form ultrafine patterns. Essential to this process are ultrahigh-precision products called “metal masks,” which are made using DNP’s proprietary microfabrication technologies. Looking back, after we undertook to develop these metal masks in 2001, it took many years of trial and error before we were able to introduce metal masks that can support the high performance of today’s OLED displays. From the beginning of the 2000s, we continued to refine the specialized coating technologies required in order to uniformly align liquid crystal on film. We were first able to show the value of this type of specialized film in the manufacturing of 3D liquid crystal televisions. Later, with the emergence of OLED displays, we developed our liquid crystal coating technology even further, leading to the successful production of our retardation film.

In addition to OLED displays’ high performance in terms of color reproduction capabilities, there are also expectations that in the future it will be possible to develop applications requiring flexible displays that can be bent or curved. Toward that end, the displays will need a high degree of flexibility and durability while remaining thin and lightweight. In order to make a reality of this type of “display of the future,” DNP will further refine the technologies that we have been cultivating all along, and continue working to provide new value.