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April 18, 2017 > When worlds collide: the result is OLED

When worlds collide: the result is OLED

By William Marshak

ÒYou see things; and you say ÔWhy?Õ But I dream things that never were; and I say ÔWhy not?ÕÓ
--George Bernard Shaw

Acronyms are ubiquitous; they are used in every facet of our lives: government, education, recreation, retail and commercial endeavors. For instance, the National Football League is commonly known as the ÒNFLÓ and a Bachelor of Arts college degree as a B.A. Use of acronyms allows people to communicate in a shorthand version while retaining the meaning of their thoughts. In the world of electronic communication, many acronyms that began in technical circles have become commonplace as practical applications emerge although the science behind them is not well understood.

In the world of computers and displays, a momentous change Ð a collision of worlds Ð is occurring and a pioneer of display manufacturing equipment technology, Kateeva, located in Newark, California, is in the vanguard. Computer monitors initially used bulky cathode ray tube (CRT) technology developed in 1921 to display fuzzy numbers and images. These have been replaced by flat screen liquid crystal displays (LCD), introduced in 1986, with higher resolution, and available in a variety of shapes and sizes. However, limitations in thinness and flexibility have limited the application of this technology. A new paradigm is now emerging; Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) technology promises a universe of economical and flexible displays on almost any material imaginable. While the science behind such advances in displays is not always new, practical applications are typically met with a host of challenges, delaying introduction to the public.

Although OLED technology was developed 30 years ago, it is just now emerging in smartphones and tablets. Advancing from theory to practical application was a significant hurdle. Birth of Kateeva was the result of a graduate student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Conor Madigan, completing doctoral and postdoctoral studies of OLED inkjet printing, deciding whether to pursue a career in academia or begin a commercial enterprise. Madigan, along with two colleagues, Gerry Chen and Valerie Gassend, joined forces with Professors Marty Schmidt and Valdimir Bulovic to found Kateeva.

In 2008, Kateeva emerged as an innovator of a new OLED production equipment solution that leverages inkjet printing. Mass production capability coupled with the skill to imprint on substances other than glass allows displays to bend around corners, roll and fold. The possibilities of such displays are endless including wristbands, clothing and windshield displays, to name just a few. With its proprietary inkjet printer, Kateeva enables Thin Film Encapsulation (TFE) in OLED production lines. TFE is what allows revolutionary flexibility, or Òfreedom from glass.Ó Next up is OLED television using even more innovative inkjet printing technology.

Dr. Jeff Hebb, Vice President of Marketing for Kateeva, notes that the companyÕs exciting possibilities attracted additional top innovators including Òinkjet guruÓ Eli Vronsky as Chief Product Officer and Steve Van Slyke, co-inventor of the modern-day OLED device as Chief Technology Officer. Instead of trying to modify existing inkjet printers, a new printer platform was created specifically for OLED. Hebb says that cost effective production of OLED panels is in its early stages; ÒWe are just at the beginning at what market analysts predict will be an exciting trajectory for OLED.Ó

KateevaÕs Newark facility is home to engineering and production so its recent expansion is just a sample of things to come. Its 150,000 sq. ft. facility is a worksite for approximately 330 people with qualifications from PhD scientists and engineers to production personnel. Although Kateeva has an international presence in Korea, Japan and Taiwan, President and Co-founder, Dr. Conor Madigan says, ÒBy obtaining an adjacent building we can maintain the operating efficiencies of a single site. Also, in Newark weÕre next door to several international airports, which is imperative for a manufacturer of capital equipment bound for production fabs in Asia. Finally, our location situates us ideally to draw talent from all regions in and around Silicon Valley.Ó

7015 Gateway Blvd., Newark
(510) 739-3850

Media Inquiries:
Jane Evans-Ryan
Genuity Public Relations
(408) 489-6391

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