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Tosh preps curved LCD screen

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Toshiba is claiming a world first - a large, flexible liquid crystal display which "opens the way to the display on curved screens". The display can be flexed in all directions and bent to form a curve with a radius of curvature of less than 20cm, Tosh says.

The new flexible LCD is a full colour active-matrix TFT-LCD, and it supports SVGA. It measures 8.4in in diameter, it's super-slim, less than 0.4mm deep, and weighs less than 20g. This is 20-25 per cent of the weight of other similar-sized screens built using low-temperature polysilicon, the material used for this screen.

Apparently, the flexibility of the screen increases resistance to shock, but Toshiba does not quantify this claim.

Toshiba's new display is more reliable and better quality than other flexible LCDs, it says. These are built by forming transistors at an extremely low temperature on a plastic substrate. But transistor quality and reliability are not good enough using this method, according to Tosh.

Its flexible LCD uses an ultra-thin glass substrate, developed by Tosh and attached to a flexible sheet. This is manufactured at the normal process temperature.

Tosh's new technology is a stepping stone to foldable LCDs, a long-term goal, the company says.

The curved LCD gets its first outing in Boston this week at the Society for Information Display 2002. But it's not expected to go into mass production until after financial year 2004 - Toshiba has to develop the production technology first.

And what about applications? Toshiba names just two: TVs with curved screens which can mounted in public; and information displays in trains and buses. ®

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