Roll-up computer screen set for 2005 debut

British firms combine to develop thin, glowing plastic displays

Cambridge Display Technology (CDT) today announced the acquisition of rival Opsys' organic light emitting diode (OLED) display business with the goal of developing roll up computer and TV screens within three years.

The deal includes an agreement by CDT to make an unspecified immediate cash payment and a deferred share allocation. Under the deal, CDT receives ownership of all rights to Opsys' dendrimer OLED technology and takes over the operation of Opsys'Oxford-based labs.

Opsys' US business, which is not part of the agreement, will retain privileged rights to use dendrimers and other technologies developed by Opsys.

The OLED display market has been forecast to grow as high as $2.5 billion in revenue by 2007 and consists of a wide range of electronics products, including mobile phones, PDAs, digital cameras, camcorders, microdisplays, and eventually personal computers, television and other consumer products. Monochrome OLED displays are already in use in mobile phones, with colour displays in the works.

Unlike liquid crystal displays, OLED screens do not need a backlight which means they can be made much thinners and more energy efficient.

CDT's technology is based on light emitting polymers that can be deposited by methods such as ink jet printing, giving a lower manufacturing cost than other methods, such as those pioneered by Eastman Kodak.

Opsys, uses new polymers, called dendrimers, which are brighter and more energy efficient than CDT's light-emitting polymers (LEPs), Reuters reports.

The companies believe that combining their respective technologies can produce displays optimised for high efficiency and low-voltage operation, and so thin they could be folded up. ®