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Posted: July 27, 2009
Solterra Renewable Technologies Signs Licensing Agreement with University of Arizona for Printed Electronics Technology
(Nanowerk News) Hague Corp.'s wholly owned subsidiary Solterra Renewable Technologies today announced an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement with the University of Arizona for the patented, intellectual property covering screen-printing techniques for the fabrication of organic light emitting diodes.
Organic light emitting diodes, known generally as LEDs, are an essential component of displays, batteries, sensors, conductors and computer memory.
Solterra's CEO Stephen Squires explained that there are essential similarities between the screen-printing techniques to fabricate LEDs and the screen printing technology that Solterra is currently optimizing to print quantum dots to make thin-film solar cells.
Using this licensing agreement to fabricate LEDs using screen printing techniques will greatly reduce the costs of LEDs, Squires explained. The high cost of producing LEDs has limited its uses; and therefore a dramatic cost reduction will greatly expand LED use, he added.
"There are useful similarities in the underlying design and manufacturing technology for quantum dot solar cells and other printed electronics applications such as batteries, sensors, conductors, lighting, logic and memory," he said.
Squires noted LED/OLED displays will likely emerge as the second most significant market for printed electronics.
"When you can leverage a single enabling technology, such as our semiconductor quantum dots, to enter two or more different, but massive, markets without straying from your core competencies, the business opportunity is very compelling," he said.
Squires said there is a frenzied pace of amazing discoveries in light-related applications. However, it was clear new work would be limited in commercial application by raw material costs. Access to high quality, affordable quantum dots emerged as the key ingredient for a number of these exciting developments. When coupled with high-throughput, inexpensive manufacturing such as screen printing, we believe wide market penetration is inevitable.
According to the IDTechEx report, Printed, Organic & Flexible Electronics Forecasts, Players & Opportunities 2009-2029, the market for printed and potentially printed electronics, including organics, inorganics and composites will rise from $1.92 billion in 2009 to $57.16 billion in 2019. The majority of the market in 2009 -- 71% -- is for electronics which are relatively mature -- conductive inks (for membrane keyboards, Printed Circuit Boards, flex connectors, membrane keyboards, sensors (e.g. disposable blood glucose sensors for those with diabetes) and Organic Light Emitting Displays (OLEDs) which are on glass substrates and not printed as yet. Source: www.idtechex.com
The University of Arizona pioneering technology makes significant improvements over prior art. Organic LED / OLED based displays now have the potential to be manufactured using very high volume, low cost roll-to-roll print processing on inexpensive substrates.
In addition to the potential to deliver a significantly lower price point, this technology can also provide, higher definition, increased viewing angles, lower power consumption and reduced response time for an enhanced picture, all in a very thin, light weight, format. These characteristics enable display technologies to flourish in environments that have previously been uneconomical or simply not viable.
The market for organic light emitting diode displays alone is estimated to exceed $4.5 billion, according to Global Industry Analysts, Inc.
Additionally, Solterra believes that the University of Arizona technology can also be applied to certain lighting applications. As global consumption of electricity in the world is increasing dramatically, energy efficiency through better electronics and lighting is key to reducing the overall burden on power production and the expected increases in greenhouse gas emissions. Solterra's thin film solar cells and high performance OLED displays, along with other emerging printed electronics innovations can be important first steps to solving these challenges.