Purchase of tool supplier will speed commercialisation of
Light Emitting Polymer (LEP) inkjet manufacturing technology
CAMBRIDGE, United Kingdom (December 4, 2001) – Cambridge Display Technology (CDT) today announced that it has acquired Pleasanton, Calif.-based Litrex Corporation from Gretag Imaging of Regensdorf, Switzerland for an undisclosed amount. Litrex is pioneering Piezo Micro Deposition™(PMD) inkjet printing technology for precision manufacturing of the next generation of LEP colour displays and electronic devices.
CDT, which owns the fundamental Intellectual Property (IP) and know-how portfolio for LEP technology, has been leading LEP research and commercial development for applications in electronic displays and lighting. To date, inkjetting of high resolution, full colour polymer displays has been demonstrated at the R&D level. The next step is to scale to volume manufacturing to offer a complete solution to display manufacturers. The acquisition of Litrex will allow CDT to speed inkjet technology development and promote the commercial sale of production-grade tools for inkjet printing LEP displays, which are part of the growing Organic Light Emitting Device (OLED) market.
“Litrex has developed a technology and production solution that is very strategic to CDT’s business plan,” stated David Fyfe, chief executive officer of CDT. “Inkjetting of polymer displays has great promise to fundamentally change manufacturing methods currently used for flat panel displays. Additionally, it is potentially compatible with roll-to-roll processes for plastic substrate display manufacturing. CDT is now in an excellent position to actively support Litrex’s PMD technology and the introduction of inkjet tools into the LEP display manufacturing arena as part of our continuing commitment to our licensees and partners.”
Litrex Corporation was formed within Gretag’s Professional Imaging Division in January 2001 in San Jose, CA, to lead the development of PMD technology as an alternative to etching and/or photolithography deposition techniques in the emerging LEP display manufacturing industry as well as for precision manufacturing of electronics devices.
“We started Litrex to take advantage of the technical maturity of inkjet technology in the printing industry,” said Chuck Edwards, president of Litrex. “We have been able to adapt it for use in non-traditional printing applications like electronic displays and offer a production tool with improved yield, higher throughput, better materials utilisation, greater scalability, and lower capital costs. The purchase of the company by CDT fits directly with the vision we have for Litrex as well as CDT’s plan to offer complete technology solutions to its LEP licensees and strategic partners.”
PMD systems are high precision machine tools, similar to an intelligent robot on a semiconductor production line. They are capable of dispensing precise droplets less than 1/6th the thickness of a human hair onto an exact programmed area where the material needs to be applied. For LEP displays, this precision is critical for accurate positioning of the high-resolution pixels that make up a full colour display.
Litrex’s PMD technology incorporates optical recognition software and digital microscopy for tool diagnostics and automatic alignment, inspection, and quality control of inkjet drop formation. It also provides real-time control and flexibility within the tool for different inkjet heads, diverse materials requirements and process-dependent aspects of the jetting deposition.
Litrex has recently relocated their offices to Pleasanton, Calif., and has delivered several units of the first generation R&D tool, designated the 80L, to display manufacturers. Development of a scaled-up production-grade unit, designated the 140P, is in progress.
Cambridge Display Technology, CDT, is a privately held company leading the research, development and commercialisation of polymer technology for flat panel displays and lighting. CDT’s light emitting polymer (LEP) technology is targeted for use in a wide range of electronic display products used for information management, communications and entertainment. Features include reduced power consumption, size, thickness and weight, very wide viewing angle, superior video imaging performance and the potential to produce displays on plastic substrates. To date, licenses have been granted to Delta Electronics, DuPont Displays, OSRAM, Philips, and Seiko-Epson, who have either announced imminent start of production or are actively implementing their manufacturing strategies.
CDT is promoting LEP technology development and speeding its commercialisation through a global business strategy including co-developments with leading companies in a wide range of display and related technology areas. Founded in 1992, the company is headquartered in Cambridge, UK.
More information about CDT is available at: http://www.cdtltd.co.uk
About Litrex Corporation
Litrex Corporation’s mission is to develop inkjet technology for precision manufacturing of electronics and electronic displays and become the world’s leading manufacturer of Piezo Micro DepositionTM (PMD) equipment. Litrex is pioneering Piezo Micro Deposition, a precision inkjet technology used in manufacturing the next generation of electronics and colour displays. Litrex PMD technology is proving critical for manufacturing light emitting polymer (LEP) displays, the latest breakthrough in “plastic” flat panel color displays. Litrex is located in Pleasanton, California, where it maintains its headquarters, R&D and manufacturing offices.
More information can be found at http://www.litrex.com
Cambridge Display Technology
Alia Ilyas/ Stephen Waddington
+44 (0)207 494 6570
530 885 9012
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