Powerlase Ltd. of Crawley in the UK, has announced the development of the 400G laser for use in the green laser annealing (GLA) fabrication method, to create active matrix organic light-emitting diode (AMOLED) display screens and televisions.

The GLA process is being developed largely to replace an older and more expensive form of manufacturing, excimer laser annealing (ELA). Improvements in line consistency are also cited.

The GLA process should streamline the manufacturing process to lower the cost of screen production and ultimately the cost of the end display product.

Powerlase Ltd. is a manufacturer of nanosecond, Q-switched, diode-pumped, solid state (DPSS) lasers and this development is seen as a big breakthrough. Use of the 400G laser in AMOLED screen manufacturing looks set to reduce production costs, ensuring that the more environmentally friendly AMOLED screens are more affordable to businesses and consumers.

Laser products developed by Powerlase are designed in line with specific customer requirements. The 400G has been developed and tested in cooperation with one of the leading display-screen manufacturers and is now entering the final development phase before being implemented in high-volume manufacturing facilities.

Ongoing evolution
May 2008 saw the 48th birthday of the laser, a technological milestone around the world as a half century of laser devices grew ever closer. Progression has been swift in this multi-billion dollar industry since the first laser was pioneered in 1960, with constant development and evolution seen throughout a multitude of laser applications.

Many companies are now developing the GLA process to improve line consistency, which is regarded as a problem with conventional ELA solutions. The GLA process creates long crystals of polysilicon, which are required to provide the required levels of picture performance.

This innovation in the production of screens is reflected in the dropping price of AMOLED displays, meaning this greener, high-performance display technology is more widely available.

The AMOLED screens match the picture quality of their plasma-screen equivalents, but consume much less energy. Traditionally they were not accessible to businesses and consumers alike as the costly nature of manufacturing techniques made the end unit too expensive.

Kevin Reardon, Head of Business Development at Powerlase, commented, “We are looking forward to further developing applications with our customers and partners. We have been working very closely with two partners on this project: Dukin in Korea and LIMO in Germany. It is with partnerships like these that allow us to continue our customer focused product development.”

Gas consuming
Lasers have traditionally been healthy users of gases and are still consuming an incredible amount of gas today. Substantial growth in the demand for laser equipment and laser metal cutting equipment has been seen over the last five years, for example.

Chemical lasers encompass the hydrogen fluoride laser and the Deuterium fluoride laser makes use of combustion products of ethylene in nitrogen trifluoride too. A solid-state laser uses a gain medium that is a solid, rather than a liquid such as a gas in gas lasers. Semiconductor-based lasers are also of the solid state variety, but are generally considered as a separate class from solid-state lasers.

Excimer lasers, often found in the field of healthcare and medical applications, are also another outlet of gas use within laser technology. Powered by a chemical reaction involving an excited dimer, or excimer, these lasers typically produce ultraviolet light and are used in semiconductor photolithography and in LASIK eye surgery. Commonly used excimer molecules include fluorine (F2) and noble gas compounds.