Glass Makers Say You Can’t Be Too Thin
Glass makers Corning and AGC are going for the gold with glass products that will enable thinner flat-panel displays (FPDs). Thinner glass substrates are a quest in the FPD market because thinner means less glass, lighter displays, and lower costs. Corning extends its 0.3-mm Eagle XG Slim glass to Gen 6 substrates, targeting thinner, lighter mobile displays. Previously, Eagle XG was only available at smaller sizes.
Standard thickness for mobile displays ranges from 0.4 mm to 0.6 mm, but 0.2-mm to 0.3-mm single-side thickness typically is achieved by chemically etching 0.5-mm glass after cell assembly. Though it works, etching is not desirable because it uses toxic hydrofluoric acid and usually needs to be outsourced. The Eagle XG Slim products start with thinner glass, reducing etching costs and potentially leading to higher yields, enabling the company to make high-quality, non-alkali glass even thinner.
Advantages of non-alkali glass substrates include flexibility, thicknesses ranging from 50 mm to 200 µm, a typical roughness of less than 0.3 nm at 100 µm, 4% reflection loss at each interface, and hermeticity against ambient environment and moisture. They’re also stable, compatible with processes greater than 400°C, and scratch resistant. However, glass will break when sufficient force is applied. There’s also a lack of mature processes and equipment to handle ultra-thin flexible substrates or roll-to-roll processing.
AGC uses a proprietary bonding layer to laminate ultra-thin glass onto the carrier glass. This process offers three advantages. First, 100-µm glass offers high resistance to thermal and chemical processing during production. Second, carrier glass acts as a protective layer. And third, the delamination process is easy, controlled, and high yield. AGC will offer the pre-laminated two-sheet substrate to panel makers as a package, which will provide a complete solution to the handling problem of ultra-thin glass.
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