ST takes closer look to OLED displays

September 02, 2012 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Chipmaker STMicroelectronics (ST) has established a strategic agreement with MicroOLED, a company dedicated to the development and commercialization of organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs). To underscore the strategic significance of the agreement, ST also took a minority equity investment of approximately 6 million Euros in the Grenoble-based company. The joint activities of both companies aim at developing micro-displays for portable devices.

With their high resolution and extremely low power consumption OLEDs are regarded as ideally suited to micro-displays in a wide range of portable applications, spanning from camera viewfinders, video goggles to medical and security applications.

At about half the power consumption of competitive displays, MicroOLED's technology provides superior pixel density for enhanced image quality, ST explained its preference for MicroOled. The technology produces OLEDs with pixel densities double those of alternate displays and contrast ratios 10 to 100x better. To complement these technology advantages, ST brings its manufacturing machine, broad consumer-market expertise, and deep IP portfolio, in the form of design, development and supply services for new micro-displays. In the mean term, ST intends to help MicroOled to target a broader range of customers and applications with the next generation of the technology. 

ST owns several CMOS processes that will be used to develop a more complete product roadmap. With a large portfolio of design IP, ST will contribute to better integrate micro-display functions that today are on external controllers, which add cost and complexity to the final solution.

ST’s experience in designing for low power consumption is one of the keys to enabling applications like video goggles. 

“In recognition of the substantial growth opportunities for Electronic View Finders in digital still cameras and other applications, and in line with ST’s strategy to diversify and enhance our offerings in Imaging, we sought and found in MicroOLED the high-resolution OLED micro-displays with the best performance/quality and lowest power consumption on the market,” said Eric Aussedat, Corporate Vice President and General Manager of STMicroelectronics’ Imaging, BiCMOS ASIC and Silicon Photonics Group.

MicroOled CEO Eric Marcellin-Dibon expressed its expectation that the tandem can further expand the potential market for OLED-based micro-displays. He said that ST's manufacturing capabilities are playing a pivotal role in the partnership.