Show | REPORT
FINETECH JAPAN | 2019
JDI’s Panel Technologies Look Beyond Smartphones
T

he 29th FINETECH JAPAN, a trade show on components and materials; manufacturing and testing equipment; processing technologies for manufacturing flat panel displays, such as liquid crystal, organic light-emitting diode (OLED); and sensor technology, was held from Dec. 4 to 6, 2019 at Makuhari Messe in Japan’s Chiba Prefecture. This article introduces the products exhibited by Japan Display Inc. (JDI). The company also provided a seminar on small- and medium-sized display strategy and technologies.

Recent data showed JDI’s share of the automotive display market accounts for 17.4 percent. In 2019, the company received the Display Industry Award at the 2019 SID International Symposium, Seminar, and Exhibition (Display Week 2019) for producing the first curved display, which was installed in a utility vehicle. JDI’s technologies, existing products, and products under development are described in the following section.

There were twenty seminars covering the most important display-related topics today at the 29th FINETECH JAPAN, of which two seminars were presented by JDI.

Small-, Medium-Size Displays Strategy
Keynote speaker Yoshiharu Nakajima, Executive Officer, Chief Technology Officer, and Head of R&D Division of JDI, presented the topic Small- and Medium-size Display Strategy and New Applications—Technical capabilities of JDI. Nakajima, who used to be an engineer at Sony Corp., spoke about the evolution of JDI’s core technology called thin-film transistor (TFT) backplane technology as well as the new development of small- and medium-size displays that uses this technology. Nakajima also discussed possible applications of the TFT backplane technology to areas beyond displays. One of them is the application of low temperature polysilicon thin film transistor (LTPS-TFT) technology to sensors and next-generation devices by evolving the LTPS technology to advanced-LTPS technology, which would enable substrates to have stretchable properties. It is notable that sensors have continued to advance as a human input device.

Trends in Automotive Displays
Yasushi Shimogaichi, Executive Officer and Head of Automotive & Industrial Business Unit of JDI, and formerly engineer at Sony Corp., spoke on “CASE” as an important technology trend in the automotive industry, which is at the juncture of a significant innovation. “CASE” is the acronym for “Connected” (connected vehicle), “Autonomous” (automatic driving), “Shared” (car sharing or is sometimes referred to as “Shared and Services” for car sharing and services), and “Electrified” (electric vehicle). Dieter Zetsche, who was Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and head at Mercedes Benz at that time, first used this term and suggested these concepts in his speech on medium- and long-term strategies at the Paris Motor Show in 2016.

The basic technologies required for implementing CASE technologies include the development of displays with greater design flexibility and human-machine interface (HMI) via displays. A practical approach to achieve the said targets would entail the use of curved and large displays and in-cell touch panels.

Exhibited JDI Products
This article introduces JDI products, which represent the company’s efforts to create displays for applications other than smartphones.

Automotive displays
Among the present trends in automotive displays include the separate installation of the cluster and Center Information Display (CID), and provision of a mainstream display size of up to 12.3 inches. It is predicted that the display size will increase to 15 inches or larger by 2025 by integrating the cluster, CID, and operation panel. At present, the mechanical switches and buttons of automotive displays number to about 30 pieces, but are expected to decrease to 20 pieces by 2025.

Photo 1 shows a horizontal large screen consisting of three display panels that extend from the driver seat to the passenger seat. Table 1 indicates the specifications of this display.

12.3-inch × 3 panels (Photo by the author.)
Photo 1: 12.3-inch × 3 panels (Photo by the author.)
Table 1: Display specifications (Source: Presentation panel)
Display specifications (Source: Presentation panel)
Photo 2 shows an electronic mirror display, which has the following features: 1) Enables a driver to view the rear of the vehicle without blind spots; 2) Enables switching between the mirror and display; 3) Enables control of reflectance in the mirror mode; and 4) Low reflection and easy-to-see image during display mode. Table 2 indicates the specifications of this display.

Transparent LCD
Recently, JDI disclosed information on the improved version of the transparent LCD, which was exhibited at SID in 2017. The company also announced that it will start mass production of this transparent LCD from 2020.

The size of the transparent LCD that was disclosed in 2017 was 4 inches while the size of the improved version has been increased to 12.3 inches. To come up with this size, JDI reviewed the materials and liquid crystal structure, and as a result, transmittance of the display when power is turned Off has been improved from 80 to 87 percent. Fig. 1 shows the basic principle and structure of the transparent LCD and Photo 3 shows a display sample of the transparent LCD. Photo 4 shows an image of a hand behind the display, demonstrating its high transmittance feature.

Electronic mirror display (Photo by the author.)
Photo 2: Electronic mirror display (Photo by the author.)
Electronic mirror display specifications (Prepared by the author based on the presentation panel.)
Table 2: Electronic mirror display specifications (Prepared by the author based on the presentation panel.)
This display has the following features: 1) Allows actual objects to be seen through the display while displaying information; 2) Blends in with the background space and offers an improved design quality; 3) Realizes a futuristic display design; and 4) Enables viewing both from front and back of the display. Table 3 indicates the specifications of this transparent LCD.

Although JDI says that the applications of this transparent LCD cannot be disclosed yet, those applications have been finalized and mass production of the 4-inch transparent LCD will start this year using the existing LCD manufacturing line in Japan.

Sharp also demonstrated the transparent LCD at its booth. The transparent display requires the use of a color filter and polarizer, with the display mode the same as that of a regular LCD. For that reason, the transmittance capacity of the Sharp display is 10 percent or less.

Basic principle and structure of the transparent LCD (Source: Presentation materials)
Fig. 1: Basic principle and structure of the transparent LCD (Source: Presentation materials)
Display example of the transparent LCD (Photo by the author.)
Photo 3: Display example of the transparent LCD (Photo by the author.)
Demonstrates the high transmittance feature of the transparent LCD (Photo by the author.)
Photo 4: Demonstrates the high transmittance feature of the transparent LCD (Photo by the author.)
Micro LED display module
At this year’s FINETECH JAPAN, JDI also exhibited a 1.6-inch micro LED display module with a 265ppi pixel density. This micro LED display module has a high brightness of 3,000cd/m2 and is being promoted for various applications, such as automotive displays.
Table 3: Transparent LCD specifications (prepared by author based on the presentation panel)
Transparent LCD specifications (prepared by author based on the presentation panel)
Micro LED specifications (Source: Presentation panel)
Fig. 2: Micro LED specifications (Source: Presentation panel)
This recent micro LED display module by JDI applies LTPS backplane technology, which is the company’s core technology. This has enabled the micro LED to be mounted on the backplane. JDI uses the micro LED chip of a U.S.-based start-up company glo. This micro LED display module has an extremely wide viewing angle of more than 178° (Fig. 2). An image display by the micro LED is presented in Photo 5.
According to JDI, it has not encountered any constraints in the development and manufacture of larger display. At the moment, the company is targeting commercialization of displays of up to 10 inches, and also considering development of larger displays using the tiling method (connecting multiple panels).

Conclusion
In this article, the latest display and sensor technologies featuring JDI’s advanced LTPS-TFT technology was discussed as presented in the seminars and exhibition at FINETECH JAPAN 2019. Based on the said technologies, JDI leverages its extensive technological knowhow that sets it apart from competitors.

Image display by the micro LED (photo taken by author with special permission)
Photo 5: Image display by the micro LED (photo taken by author with special permission)
About This Article:
The author, Ikuhiro Ukai, is from Ukai Display Device Institute (UDDI).