“Royole Corporation, a pioneer and the global leader in flexible electronics, presented new research findings at the 2021 Display Week Symposium demonstrating the world’s first micro-LED based stretchable display technology compatible with industrial manufacturing processes. Organized by the Society for Information Display (SID), Display Week is regarded as the display industry’s leading event on display technology where industry pioneers, luminaries and thought leaders gather to discuss the future of the industry, taking place online from May 16th – May 21st, 2021.
This marks another significant industry milestone in flexible electronics for Royole, which developed the world’s thinnest full-color, fully flexible display (FFD) in 2014, as well as the world’s first FFD mass production facility and brought the world’s first commercial foldable smartphone with flexible display to market, FlexPai® in 2018.
Stretchable electronics are the bleeding-edge of flexible technologies, building electronic circuits with stretchability and elasticity. Stretchable displays are not only foldable and rollable, but also capable of 3D free form shaping, including pulling, twisting, convex and concave deformations, opening up new applications and possibilities that existing flexible displays cannot accommodate, such as three-dimensional folding for creating more compact smart devices, or dome and spherical shapes of objects found in our daily lives.
This will inspire a world of new form factors that require elastic qualities across a variety of industries, such as health and fitness, sports and fashion, and smart transportation. From inspiring new smart clothing and fabric technologies; to improving health and fitness applications form-fitted to the human body; to designing spherical and topographical tools such as globes or maps that can display geographic, historical and cultural detail in one solution. Stretchable electronics will fundamentally shift the way the world builds and designs the smart devices and tools of the future.
“The development of stretchable display technology compatible with existing industrial manufacturing processes is a signal of the exponential growth the flexible electronics industry is experiencing,” said Dr. Bill Liu, Founder, Chairman and CEO, Royole. “Royole continues to lead in flexible innovation, with stretchable technologies marking the next frontier in technical progress that will enable unprecedented applications and form factors across augmented and virtual reality, wearable electronics, biomedical applications, vehicle design and beyond.”
This research shows Royole’s micro-LED stretchable display technology is capable of 130% stretchability, convex bending up to 40 degrees, while reaching a resolution up to 120 pixels per inch (PPI), a resolution threshold capable for use in laptop screens. The micro-LED technology additionally allows transmittance up to 70 percent, much higher than existing flexible OLED technologies, making it highly applicable for smart solutions requiring transparency, such as for car windshields or sunglasses. To experimentally verify the process and design method, a 2.7-inch stretchable demo panel was implemented in 96×60 resolution.
The breakthrough was achieved with the use of micro-LEDs, which are gaining attention as a promising next generation technology for various display applications, including stretchable electronics. With this research, Royole shows that micro-LED’s ultra-low aperture ratio and simple encapsulation provide enough space for stretchable pattern designs, demonstrating higher stretchability, finer pitch and higher transmittance as compared to stretchable AMOLED and LED prototypes exhibited previously by others in the display industry. Royole has filed over 80 patents globally on stretchable technologies and micro-LEDs.
This research also demonstrates that techniques used to develop stretchable displays can be applied in existing flexible display panel manufacturing processes, such as Royole’s industry leading proprietary Ultra Low Temperature Non-Silicon Semiconductor Process (ULT-NSSP), which will accelerate the scalability of this nascent technology.
Royole’s groundbreaking ULT-NSSP technology went into mass production in 2018 and is used to manufacture Royole’s 3rd Generation Cicada Wing® fully flexible display which powers products like the foldable smartphone, FlexPai 2, RoShirt, RoTree and the numerous other flexible products and solutions Royole provides to customers and over 500 partners, including brands like Louis Vuitton and Airbus.
With these findings, Royole takes a strategic leap into stretchable micro-LED solutions, leading the technological development and innovation in the highly competitive flexible electronics industry. As the Internet of Things accelerates, flexible electronics, from fully flexible displays to fully flexible sensors, are poised to become the dominant interface that bridges the interaction between people and the smart devices of tomorrow.”