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Flat-Panel Displays

This Explorer technology area has been discontinued.








About This Technology

June 2014

Flat-panel displays are ubiquitous and form an essential part of the modern world. Well over 1 billion people use online social-networking sites, which they ostensibly access using a device with an FPD. Liquid-crystal-display technology has displaced CRTs as the choice for televisions and computer monitors and has enabled the rapid development of lightweight portable devices such as smartphones, tablets, and other smart devices. Few competitive technologies exist, but organic-LED-display technology is commercially viable in small FPDs and premium televisions. Niche FPD technologies include electrowetting, electrophoretic (e-paper), and micromirror.

Use of flat-panel displays has spread across multiple industries, thanks to their thin profiles, low energy consumption, and portability. For example, one of the foremost applications for FPDs is the television, because flat-panel televisions are thin and lightweight. Also, the demand for ever-larger televisions has helped to drive down production costs because the capacity to produce one large glass panel can also cheaply produce several smaller ones. FPDs are prevalent in many areas, to the extent that hundreds of millions of people now carry smartphones with them each day. The dominance of LCD technology, which is relatively inexpensive to produce, has led to rapidly increasing sales of tablet computers with street prices of less than $100. In addition, FPDs are partly responsible for enabling computing in parts of society traditionally frozen out because of high cost.

The increasing adoption of OLED displays by mobile-handset and handheld-device manufacturers will help to push technology development forward, leading to a large-area OLED display. In addition, the emergence of e-paper displays in applications such as electronic signage, smart cards, retail-counter tags, electronic-document readers, and other paper replacements adds to the diversity and will be a boost for the overall FPD industry. These developments, along with complementary research into fundamental display electronics, will ensure that FPDs become an increasingly familiar and important part of people's business, entertainment, and daily lives.