LG Display has been evaluating the deposition process for Gen 8.5 (2200x2500mm) OLED panels since December last year, TheElec has learned.
The evaluation is being done at its supplier Sunic System’s facility at Paju, sources said. The facility houses Sunic System’s Gen 8.5 half-cut and vertical deposition equipment.
Other suppliers to LG Display have also provided their equipment and materials necessary for the evaluation to the Paju facility.
YAS supplied its deposition source; Hansong Neotech provided its tensioner that is used to fix the mask in place; Avaco its logistics equipment and LG Innotek provided the mask needed for the deposition process.
LG Display is looking to various methods for the deposition process besides the etching fine metal masks it uses for Gen 6 (1500x1850mm) OLED panels when depositing the red, green and blue organic materials. LG Innotek is providing fine metal masks and related solutions.
LG Display is aiming to supply Gen 8.5 OLED panels, which will be used for IT applications, to Apple for their first OLED MacBook, which is expected to launch around 2025.
The South Korean display panel maker is planning to use its Gen 6 OLED lines for the two OLED sporting iPads (12.9-inch and 11-inch) that are expected to debut earlier than the OLED MacBook.
As OLED panels that will be used on MacBooks and iPads launching later than the first two OLED tablets will be larger, it is more economically advantageous for LG Display to use larger substrates such as Gen 8.5 as more of the panels can be cut out them per substrate while taking less time.
LG Display’s evaluation is expected to take approximately a year to complete.
Rival Samsung Display began its own evaluation for Gen 8.5 OLED deposition earlier and is collaborating with Japan’s Ulvac to test a Gen 8.5 full cut/vertical deposition equipment.
Vertical deposition has the substrate perpendicular to the floor and the deposition is vaporized to be deposited onto the substrate.
Having the substrate perpendicular can prevent the masks from sagging.
Samsung Display is also opting for a full cut deposition where the substrate that finished the thin-film transistor process is not cut in half. Half-cut is used widely for Gen 6 OLED panels. A full-cut deposition can shorten the production time as one process is removed.
It is highly likely that Samsung Display will commercialize Gen 8.5 OLED panels first as it also has Samsung Electronics as a customer besides Apple.