December 10, 2008 HP and Arizona State University (ASU) have announced the first prototype of their affordable, flexible electronic displays. The unbreakable displays were created by ASU’s Flexible Display Center and HP using self-aligned imprint lithography (SAIL) technology developed by HP Labs, HP’s central research arm. HP claims the production feat is a milestone in the industry’s efforts to create a mass market for high-resolution flexible displays. Plus, from an environmental standpoint, the displays leapfrog conventional display processes by using up to 90 percent less materials by volume.

To create the display, the FDC produces stacks of semiconductor materials and metals on flexible Teonex Polyethylene Naphthalate (PEN) substrates from DuPont Teijin Films. HP then patterns the substrates using the SAIL process and subsequently integrates E Ink’s Vizplex imaging film to produce an actively addressed flexible display on plastic. E Ink’s Vizplex bi-stable electrophoretic imaging film enables images to persist without applied voltage, thereby greatly reducing power consumption for viewing text.

Mass production of such displays can enable production of notebook computers, smart phones and other electronic devices at much lower costs.

With the widespread applications and advantages flexible displays offer, it is little wonder that companies are scrambling to make their property the dominant technology for the next generation of display technology. The money to be made is sure to be significant and the new devices they enable are sure to bring a smile to many a gadget lover's face.