LG Chem develops foldable display material using new material technologies
LG Chem has developed new technologies that can be used for foldable displays by incorporating new material technologies and its accumulated coating technologies as it enters the next-generation materials market.
Regarding this, the company has developed a cover window for foldable IT devices called ‘Real Folding Window’ that applies specially developed coating materials to make the surface as hard as glass, while the folding parts remain as flexible as plastic. Cover windows are core materials located on the outermost part of IT devices to protect the display from impacts, while also delivering clear images.
It boasts not only durability and transmittance, but also offers the curved characteristics that are necessary to fold it flexibly.
A speaker from LG Chem said: “Unlike existing polyimide films and tempered glass-type materials, the cover window that applied LG Chem’s new coating technologies will maximise flexibility, while also providing optimised solutions for foldable phones such as making improvements to chronic issues like fold impressions on the connecting part of the screen.”
The ‘Real Folding Window’ that LG Chem developed includes a new coating material at a thickness of a few dozen micrometres on both sides of the PET film, which is a type of thin plastic, to enhance heat-resistance and mechanical properties of plastic materials. It is thinner compared to existing tempered glass and has the same hardness, but no cracking on the screen. The price competitiveness is superior compared to existing polyimide film and due to its outstanding flexibility, durability is maintained completely even when folding more than 200 000 times. LG Chem also made significant improvements to the fold lines that occur on the folding parts of the screen.
In particular, while currently commercialised cover windows are optimised for in-folding methods in which the screen folds inwards, LG Chem’s ‘real folding window’ has the advantage that it can also be used for out-folding methods where the screen folds outwards.
LG Chem is also developing technologies to produce a thin ‘Real Folding Window’ with coating only and no PET films at all. Coating-method products without PET films are expected to be applied in foldable phones and rollable IT devices, etc. that have to be very thin.
The company also identified customer needs for cover window materials such as being thin, having a clean appearance, and stable folding features and completed coating-type cover window technology development and verification. Moreover, it plans to procure mass production abilities by 2022 and begin full-scale sales of the product from 2023.
Chang Do Ki (vice üresident / division leader, IT Materials Division. Advanced Materials) commented: “Through the Real Folding Window that we newly developed, we were able to take a step closer to resolving the pain points of customers, and we have already received proposals for joint projects from multiple clients. We will strengthen our partnerships with leading companies of the smartphone industry and expand our market starting with mobiles and going on to new foldable applications such as laptops and tablets.”
Meanwhile, according to the global market survey company Omdia, the foldable phone market is expected to grow from 3.5 million units in 2020 to 50 million by 2026.
Caption: LG Chem has developed a foldable cover window by integrating new materials and accumulated coating technologies (photo: LG Chem)