Thinner in Print

Inkjet for next-generation OLED TFE

Relentless innovation at every touch point in the OLED supply chain is driving new advancements that are helping display manufacturers stretch the potential of OLED technology.

Overcoming technical obstacles helped propel OLED-enabled smartphones into the hands of consumers, with companies like Kateeva pioneering unique manufacturing solutions to enable cost-effective mass production of the revolutionary displays. Now, OLED technology is driving further display innovation. Bezel-less displays enabled by OLEDs, for instance, are expanding the viewing real estate without sacrificing optical performance, while ultra-thin displays with extraordinary flexibility are enabling a new generation of smartphones.

New-generation displays: thinner, lighter, bezel-less, curved

To keep pace, Kateeva continues to apply new innovations to its inkjet manufacturing equipment technologies and products. Our YIELDjet™ FLEX system is the leading inkjet solution for OLED Thin Film Encapsulation (TFE) mass production. TFE is the enabling layer for thinner, lighter and flexible OLED panels that are giving shape to exciting new consumer devices. Now, with our FLEX PLUS I Upgrade, display manufacturers can leverage software and hardware improvements to address critical mass-production imperatives for devices that are thinner, lighter, smaller and even curvier.

A key technical imperative is a TFE layer of 4 microns or thinner. This is an unprecedented level of thinness. It is only enabled by achieving excellent film uniformity across the encapsulation layer, and better edge profile.

Thinner and sharper edge profile: enabling next generation display

The new capabilities offered in the FLEX Plus I Upgrade are engineered to address the technical imperatives, in part, by further improving precision.

Precision Deposition in a New Dimension

Inkjet placement accuracy plays an important role in enabling precision deposition. Specifically, techniques that allow for greater control over ink drops, and methods to improve drop placement accuracy.

Several factors influence drop placement accuracy. They include printhead health, print gap, and average jetting velocity across the printheads. To optimize accuracy, Kateeva pioneered a Remote Drop Inspection (RDI) measurement system. RDI is a laser interferometry system that measures the drop volume, speed and angle for every nozzle in the print array. Unlike camera-based systems that struggle to accurately measure ink droplets in flight, Kateeva’s RDI feature enables accurate in-flight drop analysis at speeds that are sufficiently high for use in mass production. Advanced algorithms are deployed to compensate for droplet variations and to ensure that drop placement and uniformity is consistently precise.

Smaller ink drops are enabled by smaller print heads. For example, while the standard print head configuration on Kateeva’s YIELDjet FLEX system is 10pL, the FLEX Plus I Upgrade reduces the configuration to 6pL.

Excellent ultra-thin film uniformity achieved by 6pL print head and advanced algorithms

With these innovations, a thinner organic film can be reliably printed (as thin as 2 microns) with superior edge profile width and linearity.

FLEX Plus I Upgrade: Superior film uniformity, edge profile, and edge linearity

The FLEX Plus I Upgrade package includes additional software features to optimize productivity and stability. They include auto Theta Z (for the YIELDjet FLEX 1500), auto waveform tuning, edge compensation GUI, and arbitrary shape auto conversion. They’re collectively engineered to help display manufacturers not only produce next-generation OLED displays in high volume, but to do so with proven printing processes that deliver superior productivity and stability.

YIELDjet is a trademark of Kateeva, Inc.

FLEX Plus I SW: Auto waveform tuning