Institute for Large Area Microelectronics (IGM)

Research

The IGM is focused on the implementation of microelectronics on large surface areas. Fields of application include flat screen displays, smart surfaces, as well as modulators and filters for optical signal processing.

Since the inception of the "Laboratory for Display Technology" in 1991, the market for LCDs with active matrices based on amorphous silicon has grown into a billion-dollar industry with a high level of technogical maturity. As a result, the activities at the IGM have shifted towards new processes and materials for applications in display technologies. Foremost among these new technologies are the activities in the field of organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs). In addition to the actual processing of the light emitting layer and its encapsulation to protect the sensitive organic materials from oxygen and moisture, the IGM's research is focused on the development of active matrix backplanes suited to the special demands of OLED displays. The IGM has had successes with processes in both poly-crystalline silicon and with micro-crystalline or polymorphous silicon technologies. The combination of IGM developed processes and long years of experience in display control allow the IGM to realize complete active matrix OLED displays in-house. Research into metal oxide semiconductors, especially Indium-Gallium-Zinc-Oxide offer a new alternative to amorphous or poly-crystalline silicon and allow the IGM to process active matrices based on these new materials as well.

The use of organic semiconductors and carbon nano tubes in thin film transistors is another field of activities at the IGM. These technologies could offer cheaper future industrial processes than silicon based TFT technologies as they can avoid complex vacuum systems. Furthermore, these materials can be processed at lower temperatures, allowing the use flexible substrates such as plastic foils in the display processes. The same technologies can be used for liquid crystal displays.

Moving beyond the technologies for flat panel display, the IGM also engages in research into optical signal processing. One focus is on the synthesis of optical filters that are important in communication technology.

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