iBeam Materials, Inc., announced it has successfully demonstrated the ability to make high-performance GaN Field-Effect Transistors (FETs) directly on thin, flexible and rollable metal foil substrates. These transistors can be produced without the need for a transfer step and can be integrated side-by-side with microLED emitters demonstrated by iBeam for use in a display. According to iBeam, the integrated large-area microLED display production process will be available for large-scale manufacturing by 2022.
According to the company, the advent of paper-thin, ultra-flexible microLED displays using iBeam technology eliminates the traditional restrictions for the form factor of displays, opening up the potential for a new class of mobile, wearable, lighting and instrumentation products. The displays give designers flexibility with the ability to be curved, bent, and conformed to various shapes. In addition, microLEDs offer extremely high brightness and much greater efficiency than traditional LCD and OLED displays, says iBeam.
"This breakthrough in technology is a game-changer and brings us much nearer to the holy grail of displays," said Vladimir Matias, founder and CEO of iBeam Materials, in a statement. "We expect bright, bendable but tough, paper-thin and extremely power-efficient displays to enable entire new classes of products. The new technology will rewrite the rules for the shapes of displays and products that use them."
iBeam has previously demonstrated the ability to deposit devices directly on a variety of substrates such as thin, flexible large-area metal foils. Producing microLEDs directly on a metal foil substrate, the iBeam technology enables roll-to-roll mass production. iBeam plans to demonstrate the scalability of robust manufacturing processes and produce these displays at lower costs than traditional displays.
iBeam was spun-off from Los Alamos National Laboratory in late 2011 and established its headquarters and primary R&D facilities in Santa Fe, New Mexico. iBeam then collaborated with Sandia National Labs and the University of New Mexico under a DOE ARPA-E Project to develop GaN devices.