Corning Inc. is advancing the vision of flexible displays with the launch of Corning Willow Glass, an ultra-thin flexible glass.
When used in conjunction with organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology, a process by which displays are built by spraying substrates on to glass, Willow Glass allows displays to be wrapped around a device or structure.
OLED makers will also be able to take advantage of a manufacturing technology that could increase production volume and decrease expenses. Flexible substrates can be used in roll-to-roll manufacturing processes (similar to the way newspapers are printed) to produce OLEDs in high volumes.
Willow Glass will support thinner backplanes and color filters for both OLED and liquid crystal displays (LCD) in high-performance, portable devices such as smartphones, tablets, and notebook computers, Corning said in a press release. This new, ultra-slim flexible glass will also help develop conformable (curved) displays for immersive viewing or mounting on nonflat surfaces.
Corning also said in the release:
Corning Willow Glass is formulated to perform exceptionally well for electronic components such as touch sensors, as well as leveraging glass’s natural hermetic properties as a seal for OLED displays and other moisture and oxygen-sensitive technologies.
“Displays become more pervasive each day and manufacturers strive to make both portable devices and larger displays thinner. Corning Willow Glass provides the substrate performance to maintain device quality in a thin and light form factor,” said Dr. Dipak Chowdhury, division vice president and Willow Glass program director. “Currently manufacturing in a sheet-to-sheet process, we expect Corning Willow Glass to eventually allow customers to switch to high-throughput, efficient roll-to-roll processing, a long-awaited industry milestone.”
Corning says it is shipping samples of its Willow Glass to customers developing display and touch applications. The company also is collaborating with research institutions, customers, and equipment makers to develop an ecosystem of compatible processes and equipment, including optimized process designs.