TDK and iFire Join to Develop, Market New Flat Display Technology

Last week, iFire Technology, a subsidiary of Westaim, announced it has entered into a $25 million strategic partnership agreement with TDK for technology collaboration and production of iFire-based flat-panel displays. iFire claims to be developing an inorganic electroluminescent display technology, with applications targeting consumer markets and the automotive display sector.

iFire says that, unlike the many flat-panel display technologies that depend heavily on the use of expensive semiconductor-type, thin-film manufacturing processes, their display is a solid-state electroluminescent technology that relies mostly on lower-cost, thick-film processes. According to iFire, its manufacturing process uses a simpler screen-printing technique that is well known in the capacitor and printed-circuit-board industry and is less sensitive to contaminants. iFire claims that this translates into fewer process steps, higher yield, and lower-cost production equipment and facilities.

iFire explains that, "compared with most other flat-panel technologies, an iFire flat-panel display is a very simple device. It does not involve vacuum, gases, or liquids, making it more robust than other flat-panel technologies, with reduced susceptibility to shock, vibration, and breakage. iFire displays emit light from the front portion of the display, resulting in a wide viewing angle and crisp, clear, full-color images."

Michael Goldstein, president of iFire, says that "this partnership combines TDK's mass-production expertise, global marketing and distribution channels, and materials technology with our proprietary flat-panel display technology and manufacturing know-how. Together, we intend to establish iFire flat panels within the small graphics-display market and also accelerate development of larger flat panels for the large-screen TV market."

Under the agreement, TDK says it will invest $7.5 million for a 2.5% stake in iFire Technology Inc., and the two companies will join forces to further accelerate the technical development and mass-production infrastructure for iFire flat-panel displays. TDK's Hajime Sawabe adds that "this is a unique opportunity to accelerate the launch of a new high-value technology that has a huge potential in the flat-panel display market."