Kodak's tech to allow 10p-depth screens

Kodak wants to be first to present the market with new developments. Its goal is slimmer and more economical flat-panel displays

Kodak presented a new kind of display technology at CeBIT today. OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) is based on organic semiconductors that are able to emit light when fed with electricity. The result is that they no longer require backlighting, necessary in conventional LCD monitors.

Flat screens could begin to appear in substantially thinner formats: as thin as a ten pence piece, according to Kodak. The OLED display is also expected to outclass the popular LCD in terms of luminosity. And because no backlighting will be required, it will be more energy-efficient.

Kodak plans to build two versions of OLEDs –- one "active-matrix" (AM) version, for high-quality presentation displays and one "passive-matrix" (PM) for smaller display elements. Passive-matrix OLEDs are less complex to put together and offer fewer levels of resolution. These are already being used in devices such as car radios, with mobile phones the next likely target. The high-quality active-matrix OLEDs are still far from being available. These will be approximately 20 percent more expensive to produce than LCDs. Kodak claims, however, that additional production costs previously incurred are likely to fall by the same proportion once mass-production is in place.

Soon, hopes Kodak, OLEDs will replace old LCDs in small devices such as digital cameras, PDAs and mobile phones. Plans for large format OLEDs are also laid out for the future probably as widescreen TVs.

The Kodak OLED-technology had already been intoduced in November at Comdex 2000, but this is its first European introduction. The company has been working since the lates 80s on the OLED technology and developped its active-matrix OLEDs in conjunction with Sanyo. Aside from these two companies, a whole group of others are still working on their own versions.

Philips, Seiko-Epson and Hoechst have all aquired OLED-technology licences from the English startup Cambridge Display Technology. Kodak itself has sold licences to Sanyo, Pioneer, TDK, Nippon Seiki and others.

Thanks to ZDNet Germany for this report and to Sophie Handrick for the translation.

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