Commercially available current displays still have some disadvantages. For instance, those based on inorganic light emitting diodes (LED) encapsulated in glass are brittle, heavy and expensive. The good news is, displays may be available soon flexible and lighter. New and fascinating application of plastics may change the way we use monitors, cellular phones or TV screens.
Now, light emitting diodes can be made of conductive polymers. These polymers behave similar to semiconductors than to metallic conductors and, when specially prepared exhibit light emission on junctions. This electroluminescent property can be exploited by depositing a fine pattern of Light Emitting Polymers (LEP) onto a wide range of flexible and inflexible substrates. Cambridge Display Technology (CDT) in UK which develops LEPs collaborates with Seiko-Epson (SEC) bringing latter's state-of-the art active matrix backplane and inkjet printing technologies. Together, they have developed a 2.5 square inch full colour display that utilizes CDT's red, green and blue polymers. Since LEPs are self-emissive (like LEDs), many components used in liquid crystal display (LCD) like polarisers, colour filters and backlights are not required. Moreover, printing of LEP material from a liquid solution reduces manufacturing cost, overall thickness and weight of the LEP display. LEP based cell phones are the first product in the market developed by Philips, a CDT partner. CDT develops LEP displays with its European, American and Asian partners including Seiko-Epson, DuPont, DELTA, Philips, Hewlett-Packard, Hoechst and Uniax.
The impact of polymer based display technologies on our modern society could be enormous. So are the technologies stringent requirements like barrier to permeation of water and oxygen. At Lucent Technologies' Bell Labs., John Rogers has developed a series of novel fabrication techniques to make transistors from polymers, and integrated circuits on curved surfaces. Guess what, these new transistors could be used in a flexible computer display consisting of a thin sheet of plastic. Indeed, trends in plastics are giving new directions to microelectronic industries.