Today the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals their most advanced OLED display technology to date for an iDevice. Apple reveals a unique silicon-OLED display that will be brighter and thinner while allowing them to integrate a fingerprint reader under the display that could elimination the need to use the Home Button for Touch ID if they so choose. An integrated Silicon-OLED display and touch sensor panel could also be coupled with one or more fiber optic magnifiers to achieve a portable electronic device with extended touch and display capability.
Apple Invents Integrated Silicon-OLED Touch Display
OLED displays can display brighter and more vibrant images in a thinner and lighter package compared to LCD displays, making them suitable for use in compact portable electronic devices.
Advantages of OLED displays over other types of displays make integrating OLED displays into portable electronic devices attractive. Integrating the OLED display and touch screen into a single device can include fabricating the OLED stack on a glass or plastic substrate, forming the touch sensors on the OLED stack, and electrically coupling the touch sensors and transistors for the OLED stack using routing traces and one or more metallization layers. Alternatively, the OLED stack and the touch screen can be fabricated separately and then adhered together using a conductive paste. However, both techniques can include high temperature or high pressure processes that can damage the OLED stack. Furthermore, stacking the touch sensors and any routing circuitry for the touch sensors on the OLED stack can lead to portable electronic devices with unacceptable thicknesses. Additionally, formation of the OLED stack on a glass or plastic substrate can lead to poor manufacturing yields, high process variations, and poor transistor/wiring performance.
Apple's invention relates to integrated Silicon-OLED display and touch sensor panel stackup configurations that can be used in portable electronic devices such as media players, mobile telephones, and tablet computing devices.
Stackup configurations can include a Silicon substrate, an array of transistors, one or more metallization layers, one or more vias, an OLED stack, color filters, touch sensors, and additional components and circuitry.
Forming the OLED stack and touch sensors on a Silicon substrate can allow for an extremely high number of pixels per inch.
With a high number of pixels per inch, the OLED subpixels can be arranged side-by-side with the touch sensors leading to portable electronic devices that are thinner and lighter.
Arranging the OLED subpixels side-by-side with the touch sensors can also lead to a wider viewing angle display with a higher contrast ratio, higher brightness, and more vibrant colors without compromising touch sensitivity.
Due to the higher number of pixels per inch, the stackup configurations can also include one or more additional components such as electrostatic discharge devices, switches, near-field imagers, near-infrared emitters, and near-infrared detectors. The additional components can improve the functionality of the device by consuming less power, enhancing touch sensitivity, and enhancing fingerprint detection capabilities.
In some examples, the integrated Silicon-OLED display and touch sensor panel can be coupled with one or more fiber optic magnifiers to achieve a portable electronic device with extended touch and display capability.
Apple's patent FIG. 7D below illustrates a plan view of an exemplary integrated Silicon-OLED display and touch sensor panel including a plurality of clusters coupled together on an iPad; FIG. 7B illustrates a top view of an exemplary integrated Silicon-OLED display and touch sensor panel including a plurality of clusters.
Apple's patent FIG. 9A below illustrates a cross-sectional view of an exemplary integrated Silicon-OLED display and touch sensor panel with fingerprint detection; FIG. 9B illustrates a flowchart for a process of capturing a near-field image from photodiodes in an integrated Silicon-OLED display and touch sensor panel; and FIG. 10C illustrates a cross-sectional view of an exemplary integrated Silicon-OLED display and touch sensor panel with fingerprint detection using a near-infrared emitters and near-infrared detectors
Apple's patent FIGS. 11A-11B below illustrate cross-sectional views of exemplary integrated Silicon-OLED display and touch sensor panels coupled to fiber optic magnifiers. A fiber optic magnifier can be coupled to OLED stack and touch sensors to project an enlarged image.
Apple notes that in some examples, photodiode can be used for near-field imaging. The near-field imaging can be used for sensing touches detected through a user's glove or other barriers such as oils, gels, and moisture. Thereby, photodiode can increase the sensing capability and enhanced touch sensitivity. In other examples, near-field imaging using photodiode can be used for detecting a fingerprint image. Further, Photodiodes can be any type of fingerprint reader such as, but not limited to, optical finger print readers or thermal finger print readers.
Apple patent application 20150331508 was originally filed in Q2 2014. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.
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