In the near future, you may finally be able to roll up your computer monitor and stick it in your back pocket, thanks to a little start-up with MIT roots. Manufacturing company Kateeva announced it will begin shipping equipment to manufacture flexible displays later this year.
The new displays are made of OLEDs—organic light-emitting diodes—which offer better color contrast and energy efficiency than LCD technology, and are already used in mobile phone displays. For more than a decade, companies have experimented with methods to produce larger screens made of OLEDs, but have been stymied by prohibitively expensive manufacturing costs.
Kateeva, cofounded by MIT professors and alumni, including Associate Dean for Innovation Vladimir Bulović, has developed a method to coat OLED screens using giant inkjet printers. Kateeva’s method is more efficient than previous attempts, and promises to cut manufacturing costs in half.
The inspiration for Kateeva’s seemingly low-tech solution to OLEDs can be traced back to 2006, when company cofounder Conor Madigan ’06 PhD was a postdoc in Professor Bulović’s lab. Read his account of how his lab work led to forming Kateeva, in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department’s Spring 2014 newsletter.