Applied unveils new PVD, PECVD tools for display manufacturing

October 31, 2012 - Applied Materials has announced two new tools for making ultrahigh-definition displays and high-pixel-density screens for mobile devices. One offers a new design for depositing IGZO films for TFTs; the other handles bigger substrates of low temperature polysilicon (LTPS) films to help lower manufacturing costs.

The Applied AKT-PiVot PVD for metal oxide-based thin-film transistors (TFTs) enables a transition from aluminum to copper interconnect bus lines leading to faster pixel response and lower power consumption in LCD TV panels. It overcomes the problem of "mura effect" that reduce display quality, which the company says has hindered metal-oxide technology’s inroads into mainstream LCDs. The "breakthrough" stability of the IGZO films deposited by the tool offers the promise of metal oxide backplanes for OLEDs which would significantly lower their cost as well, the company adds.

(Source: Applied Materials)

A proprietary rotary cathode design employs unique deposition modulation technology to deposit copper layers and form the transistor channel with uniform grain distribution, low resistivity and high thickness uniformity. The technology enables nearly 3× higher target utilization than competitive systems, according to the company, and its rotary targets have >4× longer lifetimes than conventional planar targets.

(Source: Applied Materials)

The Applied AKT-PX PECVD is an extension of the company’s line of PECVD systems to deposit highly-uniform LTPS films on glass substrates. The new tool extends to larger sheets (1.6-5.7m2, or Gen 5 to Gen 8.5 sizes) to help manufacturers increase production and drive down costs, and accelerate the transition of LTPS technology to larger screen sizes for both mobile devices and TVs, the company points out. AMOLED and advanced TFT-LCD displays are switching to the polysilicon-based transistors, which offer higher electron mobility vs. the amorphous silicon (a-Si) used in conventional LCD displays, leading to smaller and faster pixel-controlling transistors, and displays that are brighter, sharper, and use less power — features most desirable for mobile applications.

(Source: Applied Materials)

"The display industry is undergoing one of the most critical technical transitions in the last 20 years — which is being driven by advances in TFT technology," stated Tom Edman, group VP and GM of Applied’s display business group. He added that "customers have reported excellent results with our systems and we already have received multiple orders from major display manufacturers."

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