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Metal Oxide TFT Backplanes for Displays 2013-2018: Analysis, Trends, Forecasts

IGZO active-matrix backplane solutions for emerging OLED, LCD and EPD displays

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There are many new frontiers in the display industry
Several major trends have been driving technological innovation in the display industry since its early days. These trends include image quality, screen size, portability and form factor. While these trends still remain strong undercurrents, new drivers are being introduced that will play a more prominent role in shaping the industry.
 
These new drivers will open up new frontiers, both on the technology and the market side. Indeed, they enable displays to both expand their existing markets and to diversify into new spaces. These major drivers that are set to change the display landscape include product differentiation, flexibility, 3D, transparency, system-on-panel, power savings, interconnectivity and screen size, and new front plane technologies and more.
Major trends in the industry are changing the backplane functional requirements
Critically, these new trends can only be sustained so long as the underlying technology can deliver the required performance demands. This is critical because the new functional needs will stretch many existing solutions beyond their performance limits, suggesting that alternative solutions will be required. One vital piece of technology that largely sets the limits of display industry is the backplane technology. The backplane is responsible for turning the individual pixels ON and OFF. It is composed of thin film transistors, which act as the switches.
 
How major trends have driven technology innovation in the display industry at different eras
Source: IDTechEx
 
The over-arching trends in the industry are also changing the backplane requirements on several fronts. Product differentiation is resulting in multiplicity of lighting/display technologies, with each demanding a different power output and refresh rate from the backplane. Flexibility is opening up room for a new value chain consisting of new material systems. This is because many existing solutions are failing the flexibility tests, but what is the realistic market opportunity for flexible displays and when?
 
3D and ultra-high resolution displays mandate higher refresh rates, stretching the switching speed requirements past the capability limits of today's dominant technologies, such as amorphous silicon (aSi) TFTs. System-on-panel thinking is requiring ever more processing power to be integrated onto the panel, and therefore the backplane. Reducing power consumption requires improvements in the entire lifecycle of the display, from reducing the thermal budget during the processing all the way to the more efficient energy use during operation. This will affect how thin film transistors are designed, made and operated.
There is no one size-fits-all-solution
Interestingly, there are already many different backplane technologies that are mature and available, or are fast emerging. These include amorphous silicon, nanocrystalline silicon, low-temperature poly-silicon, solution-processed or evaporated organic semiconductor and various metal oxide thin film transistor technologies. Add to this multiplicity of solutions a range of emerging nano-systems (e.g., various nanowires, graphene, carbon nanotubes) and you will find a decision-making nightmare.
 
This is because each thin film transistor technology offers a different set of characteristics, suitable for different needs. And yet none offers a one-size-fits-all-solution for all needs. This suggests that, at least initially, many different technologies will co-exist, each rising to satisfy a fragment of the emerging spectrum of needs and thus each occupying a different niche. In addition, some of these options are further advanced than others while others hold great promise. Yet bringing it to market will take time and there are unforeseen technical issues to contend with.
This report makes sense of this changing, fragmented space
This report analyzes major drivers that are shaping the display industry. The major trends examined in detail include product differentiation, size and scaling, power savings, prolonged lifetime, 3D, mechanical flexibility, rimless designs, etc.
 
The report will then assess how these trends create new functional needs on the technology side. It provides an in-depth review of existing and emerging thin film transistor solutions and critically assesses the pros and cons of each. The technologies covered include various forms of silicon thin film transistors (amorphous, nanostructure and polycrystalline), organic semiconductors, various nanostructured semiconductors and metal oxides.
 
Radar chart showing the technological suitability of different backplane technologies for sustaining megatrends in the LCD display industry
Source: IDTechEx
 
In terms of metal oxides, it assesses the different material systems available (IGZO, HIZO, IZO, ZNO, TZO, ZnO, etc) and critically assesses the merits of each. In doing so, it outlines and discusses the leading research frontiers in metal oxides science and engineering, including stability and persistent photoconductivity, processing window, p-doping, etc. The report also discusses various requirements of dielectrics for emerging displays and explores the material options for use as dielectrics on wide-bandgap metal-oxide semiconductors.
 
The report links material properties of all thin film transistor technologies to device figures-of-merit, including mobility, sub-threshold voltage, threshold voltage, stability, contact resistance, etc. These figures-of-merit are then connected to attributes of backplanes and thereby to the emerging functional needs of the display industry as a whole.
 
Linking the mega trends with micro level technological details, we are able to map out how the fragmented display backplane technology will look going forward.
 
 
In our assessment, we also provide a detailed outline of activities in the OLED display segment, including
  • An analysis of announced production capacity
  • Number of units sold by manufacturer
  • Which backplane technologies are used by which manufacturers
  • A timeline of venture/partnerships activities taking place across the world in the OLED space.
  • Product development cycle for oxide semiconductors
Who should buy this report?
  • Major display manufacturers: This report helps major display manufacturers understand how the drivers and the functional needs of the industry are changing. This report will also help them see which technologies will win in which market segments, and why. It will enable them to ensure that they do not lose out when the landscape alters and when parts (or all) of their existing value chain become disrupted.
  • Thin film transistor technology licensors and researchers: It will help them identify how the changing display industry will benefit from which thin film transistor technology; helps them pinpoint key research frontiers and questions and therefore design their research programmes; helps them identify target markets and players for licensing their IP assets; helps them know their competitors, etc
  • Material suppliers to all thin film transistor technologies: It will help them understand which thin film transistors (and their associated material system) will win in which markets and why. It will help them devise their strategies by backing the right technologies in the right time frames and for the right markets.
  • Equipment suppliers: It will help them understand which new technologies will be required and why. As a result, it will help them see which new equipment systems will be required and why. It helps them therefore plan ahead and form the right partnerships or relationships.
  • Circuit designers: It will help them see how oxide thin film transistors require new compensation techniques, why and for which market segments (this determines the required performance specification). This effectively highlights a new area of circuit design for companies.
Analyst access from IDTechEx
All report purchases include up to 30 minutes telephone time with an expert analyst who will help you link key findings in the report to the business issues you're addressing. This needs to be used within three months of purchasing the report.
Further information
If you have any questions about this report, please do not hesitate to contact our report team at or call Clare on +44 (0) 1223 813 703 for queries based in EMEA or Raoul on +1 617 577 7890 for queries based in the Americas, Spain or ROW.
Table of Contents
1.EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
1.1.A changing landscape
1.2.The backplane technology must be able to sustain the growth
1.3.Where do oxides sit in the emerging display landscape?
1.4.Development cycle and product pipeline for various display applications using oxide TFTs
1.5.OLED development timeline
1.6.How could the value chain look?
2.METAL OXIDE SEMICONDUCTORS
2.1.Zinc Oxide is the n-type oxide of choice
2.2.Why amorphous oxides give both high mobility and high spatial uniformity?
2.3.Multi-component oxides are leading the way
2.4.Why go multi-component?
2.5.Multi-component oxides give leverage in device design and manufacture
2.6.p-doping and complementary logic are often not possible
2.7.Some p-type oxide semiconductors are emerging
2.8.Transparent Electronics?
2.9.Transparency is not as good as advertised- why?
2.10.Photocurrent persists for long times, even in the dark
2.11.Manufacture
2.11.1.Sputtering
2.11.2.Printing
2.12.Target Markets
3.METAL OXIDE DIELECTRICS
3.1.Dielectric requirements for transistors
3.2.The dielectric material set- assessing suitability for traditional and metal-oxide electronics
3.3.Trade-off between bandgap and dielectric constant
3.4.Dielectrics- the wide bandgap limits the choice of dielectrics- AlOx and SiOx are promising
3.5.Which dielectric material gives highest stability in ZnO-based electronics?
3.6.Hybrid structures for metal oxides
3.7.Dielectric purity is critical for metal oxides
3.8.Passivation is critical in transistors but not straightforward
3.9.Metal oxide dielectrics are used to encapsulate moisture-sensitive OPVs and OLEDs devices
3.10.Manufacturing techniques
3.10.1.Explaining different techniques
3.10.2.Comparing Manufacturing Techniques
4.METAL OXIDE TRANSPARENT CONDUCTORS
4.1.Material set
4.2.Thin Film Transparent Conductors
4.3.Applications for Thin Film Transparent Conductors
4.4.Non-Thin Film Transparent Conductors
4.5.Why is ITO replacement being targeted?
4.5.1.Cost
4.5.2.Supply concern
4.5.3.Mechanical Flexibility
4.6.Will ITO alternatives deliver value? How and where
5.TRENDS IN THE BACKPLANE TECHNOLOGY
5.1.Active vs. Passive Matrix
5.2.Display Technologies
5.3.LCD displays vs OLED displays
5.4.TFT Technology
5.4.1.Basic TFT configurations
5.4.2.TFT Figures of Merit
5.4.3.TFT Technologies
6.TRENDS SHAPING THE DISPLAY INDUSTRY GOING FORWARD
6.1.3D
6.2.Size and Scale
6.3.Flexibility
6.4.Product differentiation
6.5.Power consumption
6.6.Lifetime and consumer behaviour
6.7.Transparency
6.8.Rimless displays
6.9.Increasing processing power
7.MARKET ANALYSIS
7.1.How oxides deliver value across the existing market driver?
7.2.Which backplane technology occupies which market position in the emerging landscape?
7.3.Product development timeline using oxide thin film transistors
7.4.Joint venture, partnership and collaboration in the OLED space- a timeline
7.5.OLED display products are rapidly multiplying
7.6.OLED- a rapidly growing market
7.7.Opportunities for oxides in the OLED display industry- Data
7.8.Will oxides also be used in the LCD industry?
7.9.Sharp and HTC announces a IGZO product
7.10.Value Chain Mapping
8.COMPANY PROFILES
8.1.Technology Licensors
8.1.1.Amorphyx
8.1.2.AUO
8.1.3.Canon Kabushiki Kaisha
8.1.4.Cbrite
8.1.5.DuPont
8.1.6.Eastman Kodak
8.1.7.Fujifilm Corporation
8.1.8.Hewlett Packard
8.1.9.JX Nippon Mining
8.1.10.LG
8.1.11.Samsung Institute of Advanced Technology
8.1.12.Semiconductor Energy Laboratory
8.1.13.Sony
8.1.14.Tokyo Institute of Technology
8.1.15.University of Oregon
8.2.Circuits/Drivers
8.2.1.Dialog Semiconductors
8.2.2.IGNIS Innovation
8.2.3.Lucid Display Technology
8.2.4.Magnachip Semiconductor Ltd
8.3.Manufacturers
8.3.1.AUO
8.3.2.BOE Display
8.3.3.Chimei Innolux
8.3.4.Japan Display Inc
8.3.5.LG
8.3.6.Panasonic
8.3.7.Prime View International
8.3.8.Samsung Electronics
8.3.9.Sharp
8.4.Equipment Providers
8.4.1.AimCore
8.4.2.AJA International, Inc
8.4.3.Applied Materials
8.4.4.Angstrom Engineering
8.4.5.Cambridge Nanotech
8.4.6.ThinFilms Inc
8.4.7.Vacuum Process Technology
8.4.8.Veeco Instruments
8.5.Sputtering Targets Providers
8.5.1.Hitachi Metals
8.5.2.Idemitsu Kosan
8.5.3.JX Nippon Mining & Metals Corporation
8.5.4.Samsung Corning Precision Glass
8.5.5.ULVAC Corporation
APPENDIX: IDTECHEX PUBLICATIONS AND CONSULTANCY
TABLES
1.1.Business reasons underpinning each trends and the technological consequences that it will generate
1.2.Key parameters of thin-film deposition techniques
1.3.Assessing the merits of oxide thin film transistors for enabling different market drivers in the display industry and comparing with its closest rival technology
1.4.Announced and exiting production plans of major companies
2.1.Bandgap, effective electron mass and electron affinity of ZnO, Ga2O3 and In2O3
2.2.Key properties of thin film transistors made using different multi-component metal oxides including ZnO, GIZO, GIZO, ZrIZO, SZO, GSZO
2.3.The current dominant industrial uses of metals used in multi-component oxide semiconductors (Zr, Hf, Sn, Ga, Zn, etc)
2.4.Adverse effects of persistent photoconductivity on different applications
2.5.Key target markets for oxide semiconductors
3.1.Dielectric requirements for transistors including defect density, breakdown voltage, dielectric constant, band offsets
3.2.Key characteristics and uses of different dielectric layers for both traditional and emerging oxide electronics
3.3.Estimated band offsets between different dielectrics and GaInZnO
3.4.Comparing the stability of different dielectric systems in oxide thin film transistors using our stability index
3.5.Explaining and assessing different manufacturing techniques for depositing oxide dielectrics
3.6.Comparing and benchmarking different manufacturing technique for oxide dielectric
4.1.Table sorting and benchmarking transparent oxide thin films on the basis of resistivity, transparency, etchability, annealing temperature, cost, etc.
4.2.Applications for transparent electronics, the dominant material choice per applications and main driver in each
4.3.Comparing the pros and cons of each non-thin transparent conductors including silver flakes, silver nanoparticles, silver nanowires, graphene, carbon nanotubes, copper, etc.
4.4.Assessing silver nanoparticle grid and silver nanowire based transparent films
5.1.Comparing passive and active matrix systems on the basis of size, refresh rate, energy consumption, cross talk, etc.
5.2.Explaining key parameters of display technologies that influence the requirements on the backplane technology
5.3.Pros and cons of principle TFT architectures including staggered or co-planar top or bottom gate TFTs
5.4.Explaining the key TFT figures-of-merit and assessing the link between the material and device design parameters influencing them
5.5.Main consumer benefits delivered by LTPS
5.6.Primary examples of p- and n-type soluble and non-soluble organic semiconductors
5.7.Comparing the key attributes of different TFT technologies (a-Si, pc-Si, nc-Si, OTFT, graphene, CNT, etc). Parameters include manufacturing technique, mobility, uniformity, stability, and commercialisation stage and primary uses
6.1.Comparing the lifetime, resolution and uniformity requirements of different display products including HDTV, monitor, PDA, PMP, mobile phone and signage
6.2.Assessing the instability mechanisms present in each TFT backplane technology including oxide, organic, polycrystalline, nanocrystalline, etc.
7.1.Assessing how oxides can meet the emerging needs that arise from existing drivers/trends in the display industry
7.2.Announced and exiting production plans of major companies. The information includes backplane technology, display size, production throughput and plant territory
FIGURES
1.1.How major trends have driven technology innovation in the display industry at different eras
1.2.Series of radar charts depicting the strength of technological suitability of different backplane technology of different market drivers
1.3.The market space that is likely to be filled by oxide semiconductor thin film transistors
1.4.Development cycle and product pipeline for various display applications using oxide TFTs
1.5.Timeline of activity in the OLED space in terms of joint ventures, partnerships and collaborations
2.1.Spherically-overlapping bonds make oxide semiconductors less sensitive to structural disorder
2.2.Mapping out the effect of composition on electron mobility and microstructure of multi-component oxides
2.3.How will mobility, ON/OFF ratio and threshold voltage vary as a function of Ga and In content
2.4.The physics (thermodynamics) behind the difficulty in p-doping oxide semiconductors
2.5.Choices for p-type oxide semiconductors
2.6.Optically transparent thin film transistors
2.7.Optical illumination leads to persistent photoconductivity
2.8.Showing the different plasma regions in a typical sputtering process
2.9.High performance oxide TFTs fabricated using printing with an annealing temperature <250C
3.1.Inverse relationship between bandgap and permittivity constant in dielectrics
3.2.Interactions between oxygen species and the active channel in oxide thin film transistors
3.3.Dyad-based barrier/encapsulation layers
4.1.Examples of use of non-thin film transparent conductors in touch screens, mobiles, flexible substrates
4.2.Price evolution of primary indium from 1992 to 2012
4.3.Indium production by territory and volume in 2001
4.4.Indium production by territory and volume in 2012
4.5.Indium supply and demand are well matched. The role of secondary indium has been increasingly growing.
4.6.ITO develops microstructures under tensions and compression
4.7.Benchmarking ITO against non-thin film alternative on the basis of cost and sheet resistance
5.1.Passive or active matrix backplane in displays
5.2.Linking the display technology (LCD, OLED, EPD, EWD, etc) with the requirements for the backplane technology
5.3.Comparing and contrasting the design and attributes of LCD and OLED displays
5.4.Extracting TFT figures-of-merit from the transfer and output characteristics of TFTs
5.5.Different manufacturing routes for making thin film polycrystalline silicon
5.6.Relationship between crystalline content on device mobility (electron or hole), process temperature, spatial uniformity, stability, etc.
5.7.Improvements in the mobility of polymeric and small-molecule p- and n-type semiconductors as a function of year
5.8.Comparing switching frequency of graphene devices against other RF devices including Si, InP, GaAs, CNT
5.9.The inherent kink effect present in the output characteristics of graphene FETs
5.10.Comparing the deposition process of one layer using traditional lithography-based methods and additive printing
5.11.How printing simplified the manufacturing process by reducing the number of steps involved
5.12.How printing can disrupts the value chain for graphene
5.13.A plethora of printable semiconductors are available including PQT 12, graphene, c-Si, ZnO, CdSe, etc
6.1.Examples of 3D displays
6.2.A comparison of properties of two principle 3-D stereoscopic techniques
6.3.240 Hz driving methods of stereoscopic 3D displays (a) progressive emission, and (b) simultaneous emission method
6.4.The scaling (substrate size) law in display. This is the equivalent for Moore's law for the display industry
6.5.Evolution of display size from 1935 to 2011. This trend has been sustained by a change in technology from CRT to LCD
6.6.Identifying the market niche for oxide semiconductors in the large-sized display segment
6.7.Identifying the market gap for flexible display
6.8.Comparing the properties of common plastic substrates including Kapton, PEEk, PET, PEN, PES, etc.
6.9.The latest progress in developing coloured flexible OLED display driven by various back plane technologies including organics, LTPS and organics
6.10.OLED have been a product differentiation factor in all manners of displays including music players, cameras, mobile phones, tablets, TVs, etc.
6.11.The evolution for LCD display power consumption as a function of a shift from CCFL to LED backlight technology
6.12.Comparing the power consumption for CCFL and LED LCD screens of various sizes in W/sqr. Inch
6.13.Example of transparent 19-inch AMOLED TV or monitors
6.14.Example of transparent mobile phone display
6.15.Cut-off frequency as a function of field-effect mobility, mapping out which materials enable which circuit types
7.1.Radar chart assessing the merits of different backplane technologies (LTPS, oxide, a-Si, organics) for LCD displays. The parameters considered are resolution, size, flexibility, on-pixel processing, and 3D. Here, the scale is from
7.2.Radar chart assessing the merits of different backplane technologies (LTPS, oxide, a-Si, organics) for OLED displays. The parameters considered are resolution, size, flexibility, on-pixel processing, and 3D. Here, the scale is fro
7.3.Development cycle and product pipeline for various display applications using oxide TFTs
7.4.Joint venture, collaboration, partnership and distribution agreement timeline (2000-2012) in the OLED lighting and display industries
7.5.Examples of key OLED display products on the market. The products include cameras, tablets, music players, mobile phones, TVs, etc and the producers include Nokia, Sony, Samsung, LG, HTC, Microsoft, Motorola, etc.
7.6.Volume production (in units) for different companies in the OLED display space for 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011
7.7.Announced annual production capacity (area) of various OLED display manufactures in 2015-2016. Two categories are developed: 1) LTPS backplanes and 2) oxide backplanes
7.8.Sharp tablet using an IGZO backplane system
7.9.Mapping the emerging oxide electronic value chain by position and company name
8.1.Resistance stability of ultra-high density ITO target

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-Figures62
-Forecasts to2018
 

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