1 December 2011
AZ Electronic Materials (“AZ”), a leading global producer and supplier of high-quality, high-purity specialty chemicals to the semiconductor and flat panel display industries, and Orthogonal Inc., a world leader in photoresist technologies for organic electronics, today announced that they have entered into a joint development and licensing agreement.
Under the agreement, the two companies will jointly develop and cross-license related advanced materials’ synthesis technologies for producing photoresists, which will allow display manufacturers to fabricate the highest performing organic electronics while utilising their existing manufacturing infrastructures. The joint development effort builds on the substantial advanced materials capabilities of each company, combining Orthogonal’s cutting edge OSCoR™ photoresist product line with AZ’s technical expertise and market-leading position serving the global display industry.
Production of thin-film transistor (TFT) display panels has been traditionally conducted on glass substrates using positive-tone conventional photoresists. While higher resolution TFT designs using glass as the substrate have fuelled a surge in consumer demand, the vision for the future includes the ability to construct a TFT display on a flexible organic substrate. Drivers for this flexible design include new form factors for consumer use as well as reduced weight, improved durability, and decreased manufacturing cost.
A number of electronics manufacturers have programmes in place to develop the next generation of devices that employ organic electronics to pattern the display’s TFTs. The use of organic semiconducting substrates has [previously] been limited because of the difficulty in patterning the material at the resolution required for high-quality TFT screen performance. Processes currently used to make TFT arrays are not compatible with organic semiconductor substrates because of damage created by the solvents used in the lithography materials employed in those processes. Orthogonal’s OSCoR technology enables the production of organic electronics on a traditional semiconductor fabrication platform.
“We are pleased to join with AZ in developing a solution that is essential for the display industry to produce the much anticipated flexible displays," said Dr. John DeFranco, Chief Technical Officer, Orthogonal, Inc. "Our proprietary chemistry solution is designed to enable the highest yield and resolution displays on plastic substrates, which is expected to finally introduce flexible displays for markets such as ePaper for educational purposes.”
Geoff Wild, AZ’s Chief Executive Officer, commented: “Collaborating with the Orthogonal team provides AZ with the opportunity to apply our industry-leading material design and scale-up capabilities to the development of alternative patterning approaches. Orthogonal’s pioneering work in this area combined with AZ’s global presence supporting the key display manufacturing infrastructure gives the AZ-Orthogonal initiative a strong technical basis for success in demonstrating organic electronics production using photolithographic means.”
Work on the multi-year programme will be conducted at AZ’s R&D facilities in the USA and Korea, and at Orthogonal’s labs in the USA.
Head of Investor Relations
AZ Electronic Materials
+ 44 (0) 208 622 3825