Honeywell to Develop Materials for Flexible Electronics

Honeywell (NYSE: HON) Electronic Materials and the U.S. Display Consortium (USDC), a public/private partnership chartered with developing the supply chain for the flat panel display industry, announced a new agreement to develop materials for flexible electronics. This is the second agreement between Honeywell and the USDC, with the first resulting in a new family of materials for the flat panel display industry.

Under this new $500,000 agreement, Honeywell will focus on developing materials to prevent short circuits in leading-edge flexible electronics for devices used by the United States military. Flexible electronics are key to the military’s goal of employing rugged, yet lightweight and highly mobile, flexible electronic equipment. Similar to the first agreement, beta site testing of these new materials will take place at the Flexible Display Center at Arizona State University (ASU FDC).

“We continue to find new opportunities to apply our deep knowledge of materials traditionally used for semiconductors to the growing area of displays and flexible electronics,” said Peter Smith, display business director for Honeywell Specialty Materials. “Besides delivering value and functionality to the U.S. military, we believe new materials developed as part of this collaboration will apply to commercial uses.”

Honeywell will be developing materials used in flexible displays, organic light-emitting diodes (OLED) and flexible photovoltaics. Flexible displays are extremely thin displays created by building electronic circuits on flexible substrates. OLEDs are an emerging display technology that uses less power than liquid crystal displays, or LCDs.

In addition to developing new materials, Honeywell will work to deliver cost of ownership advantages as compared to the technologies and approaches that are currently being employed.

Dr. Mark Hartney, CTO of the US Display Consortium stated, “This project is important for the development of flexible electronics, especially displays, where the use of new substrate materials such as metal foils or plastic films can offer new form factors and potentially lower costs through new manufacturing methods. These novel substrate materials need improved planarization and isolation from conducting substrates, and Honeywell’s Electronic Materials group brings a wealth of expertise to this challenge.”

Flexible electronic devices are built on either a plastic or stainless steel substrate, or foundation. To avoid short circuits, surfaces need to be made as smooth, or planarized, as possible. Additionally, if a metal substrate is used, it needs to be insulated from the electronic devices built on its surface.

Honeywell has extensive experience developing planarizing materials and is a pioneer in the development of insulating materials that are used in the production of integrated circuits in the semiconductor industry. That expertise is being leveraged towards the development of new materials for flat panel display applications.

The U.S. Display Consortium is an industry-led public/private partnership providing a common platform for flat panel display and flexible microelectronics manufacturers and developers, flat panel display users, and the supplier base. Headquartered in San Jose, Calif., the consortium’s primary mission is to fund supply-chain projects and share the results with USDC member companies. The USDC also provides a communication channel among industry, government and the financial communities for display issues; sponsors workshops to broaden the impact of technological developments.

The Flexible Display Center (FDC) at Arizona State University (ASU) is a university/industry /government collaborative venture designed to advance full color flexible display technology and flexible display manufacturing to the brink of commercialization. The principal goal of the FDC is to develop high performance, commercially-viable, conformal and flexible displays that are lightweight, rugged, low power, and low cost. In 2004, the U.S. Army awarded ASU a $43.7 million, five-year cooperative agreement to establish the FDC; additional substantial, infrastructure and technology support is provided by ASU and the FDC’s 16 commercial partners.

Honeywell Electronic Materials supplies microelectronic polymers, electronic chemicals, and other advanced materials that enable the integration of cutting edge processes at customer sites. Honeywell also maintains extensive product offerings under its metals business segment, including physical vapor deposition (PVD) targets and coil sets, precious metal thermocouples and materials used during back-end packaging processes for thermal management and electrical interconnect.

Honeywell International is a $34 billion diversified technology and manufacturing leader, serving customers worldwide with aerospace products and services; control technologies for buildings, homes and industry; automotive products; turbochargers; and specialty materials. Based in Morris Township, N.J., Honeywell’s shares are traded on the New York, London, and Chicago Stock Exchanges. It is one of the 30 stocks that make up the Dow Jones Industrial Average and is also a component of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.