Site: SEIKO-EPSON

Date Visited: October 5, 1991

Report Author: A. Firester

ATTENDEES

JTEC:

Covert
Firester
Glenn
Hoffman

HOST:

Hiroshi Harigaya

Director, Corporate General Manager
Corporate Research & Development

Mitsuru Kono

General Manager of R&D Planning
R&D Division

Kanemitsu Kubota

Manager, Display Technology Laboratory
R&D Division

Hiroyuki Ohshima

Manager, TFT Research Laboratory
Corporate R&D

Hiroshi Takayama

Manager, Sales and Marketing Section
TFT/MIM Division

Nobuyoshi Takei

Manager, LD Overseas Sales Section
LCD Division

AGENDA

Mr. Takei graciously acted as our escort on our trip to and from Seiko. We arrived at about 10:00 a.m. and left about 3:45 p.m.. The meeting was hosted by Mr. Kono. An outline of our meeting follows.

  1. Greeting - Koyama
  2. JTEC introduction - Glenn
  3. Product demonstrations - Kono
    p-Si projector and camcorder viewfinder, MIM pocket TV, and color VGA display
  4. Seiko-Epson SPN Technology - Ohshima and Kubota
  5. Lunch - Harigaya
  6. Sarnoff p-Si status - Firester
  7. Technical discussions - All

BACKGROUND

Seiko-Epson is a privately held company in the Seiko Group. The four companies in the Seiko Group are shown in Table Seiko.1 with their principal products.

Table Seiko.1

Company statistics provided by Mr. Koyama are as follows:
Head office -

Suwa-Shi, Nagono-Ken

Employees -

12,600 (9/90)

Capitalization -

$80 million

Annual sales -

$3,100 million
(All $1 = 150 yen)

Large-size module '91 projected market
Total: 100,000 million yen

TECHNOLOGY

PLANS AND STRATEGY

Although Seiko-Epson was first to market with a silicon chip wrist TV in 1982 and a p-Si pocket TV in 1984, they discontinued their p-Si pocket TV products in 1986 and switched to MIM as the active matrix technology for their pocket TVs. Their current plans are to pursue p-Si active matrix for small, greater than.equal 2-inch diagonal products such as projection light valves and camcorder viewfinders. Larger display applications, both personal TVs and office automation equipment, will use MIM active matrix technology. Seiko is convinced that they can compete with a-Si TFT technology for large-size displays with equal performance but substantially lower costs.

Seiko has been a supplier of specialized p-Si displays for avionic applications with sizes as large as 96 mm x 88 mm. They will continue to fulfill their contractual commitments but do not intend to expand either in display size or avionic market penetration.

TECHNICAL DISCUSSIONS

p-Si

Seiko uses a high-temperature (HT) p-Si process on quartz substrates. There is ongoing research to develop a low-temperature poly process that would permit the use of glass substrates. The products they currently produce using the HT p-Si process are as follows:

MIM

Seiko has decided that the MIM technology will be their approach for TV and OA applications requiring AMLCDs larger than 2-inch diagonal. MIM active matrices will have performance equivalent to a-Si TFT active matrices at very much lower manufacturing costs. They are continuing their MIM research. The advances they seek are reduced capacitance and reduced leakage (cause of cross-talk). Current MIM products are described in Seiko's brochure and summarized in Table Seiko.2.

Table Seiko.2
Current MIM Products

For these color products, Seiko produces its own color filters. For the 9V color PC display, this filter is on top of the ITO stripes, thereby reducing the voltage across the LC and resulting in a narrow viewing angle. In the TV displays, the ITO is on top of the color filter, thereby providing maximum voltage across the LC material and resulting in a wide viewing angle. Another distinction between the 9-inch PC unit and the 4-inch TV unit is that the former operates in the normally black mode and the latter in the normally white mode.

Projection

Seiko is producing a p-Si AM light-valve projector - Model VPJ-2000. Light-valve transmission is approx. 15% (polarizers approx. 40% and aperture ratio approx. 40%). The unit uses a 150-Watt metal halide lamp and provides 70 lumens output. (See section on p-Si for light-valve specifications. According to Seiko, if lamp power were increased to increase the light output, then the increase in light-valve temperature would limit the maximum output. Specific details on light absorption were not provided.

Other LC R&D

DEMONSTRATION

We were given four demonstrations:

  1. LC projection
  2. 9V MIM color display in a notebook PC
  3. 4-inch diagonal MIM TV
    Viewing angle:
    16-level gray scale drivers; manufactured by Seiko Response, same as (2) above.
  4. fugix handycam containing 0.7" color viewfinder. quite nice; coarse pixelation.

Published: June 1992; WTEC Hyper- Librarian