Sharp Promises Wafer-thin PC/LCD Combination

Light-emitting polymers (LEPs) in Cambridge? In Tokyo, Sharp Electronics has developed a wafer-thin liquid crystal display (LCD) with computer circuitry built in. Sharp and its research partner, Semiconductor Energy Laboratory, announced in mid-January that they have devised a technology called continuous-grain silicon (CGS) that will allow LCDs to contain their own driver chips. This will permit the integration of displays and computers into sheets of any size, from credit-card-sized personal digital assistants to large-format video screens.

The new LCDs are said to have very high luminosity and resolution due to "high electron mobility," according to a Reuters news release. Transmission rate through the new material is claimed to be 600 times faster than through ordinary amorphous silicon. Sharp says its CGS display drivers are capable of operating at 13.8 MHz. The combination of high speed, brightness, and application versatility makes CGS a natural for home-theater use.

Sharp V.P. Atsushi Asada says his company has applied for more than 500 patents worldwide for the new technology. Large-scale production of 60" thin-screen video displays will begin later this year. No mention was made of projected retail prices.