[opendtv] News: Big screens a growth industry for Motorola

  • From: Craig Birkmaier <craig@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: OpenDTV Mail List <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 9 May 2005 09:19:53 -0400


Big screens a growth industry for Motorola

May 9, 2005

BY HOWARD WOLINSKY Business Reporter

  Moto, Moto, how does your garden grow?

  The Schaumburg tech company is planting carbon nanotube seeds on 
glass and growing TV screens that it promises will shatter the prices 
now being paid for big-screen TVs.

  Motorola today will announce it is ready to begin marketing a new 
technology to "grow" large-screen TVs using atom-sized carbon nano 
tubes as seeds with the potential to produce superior images at a 
fraction of the price of today's big screens.

  And here's some news sports fans will welcome: A Motorola spokesman 
said the images are so sharp that even fast-moving objects, such as 
hockey pucks and baseballs, are visible without blurring or 

  "With over 15 years experience and 160 patents in carbon nanotube 
technology and flat panel displays, we have developed a technology 
that could enable the next generation of large-size flat-panel 
displays to deliver an extraordinary visual experience at a fraction 
of current prices," said Jim O'Connor, vice president of Motorola 
technology incubation and commercialization.

  He said a 40-inch screen will cost less than $400. This compares 
with 40-inch liquid-crystal plasma screens costing $2,500 and up 

  The company has produced a first-of-its kind, 5-inch-wide prototype 
that is less than an inch thick for use as a high-definition screen. 
O'Connor said the process could easily be scaled up to a 42-inch 
display for a TV or computer display.

  Motorola can grow a carbon nanotube in less than two minutes. In a 
manufacturing environment it will take one to five minutes. A carbon 
nanotube is 10,000 times thinner than a strand of human hair.

  Motorola is shopping the technology to other manufacturers, and 
O'Connor predicted carbon nanotube TVs will be on the market within 
two years.

  Motorola itself pulled out of TV manufacturing in the 1970s, and 
ceased making flat-panel displays for computers in the 1990s. 
However, O'Connor said the company continued its research program in 
laboratories here and in Phoenix.

  Barry Young, vice president of DisplaySearch, a flat panel display 
market research and consulting company in Texas, said carbon 
nanotubes make superior TV images because they "are near perfect 
conductors, and can emit electrons efficiently when sufficient 
current is passed."

  He said Samsung, SDI and ITRI have all built carbon nanotube 
prototypes, but have had quality problems. They slather a carbon 
nanotube paste on glass, a process compared to putting peanut butter 
on bread. But not all the carbon tubes line up in the same direction 
using that slapdash technique.

  Young said Moto's breakthrough involves a catalyst that can be 
placed on glass. The result is uniform and accurate positioning of 
the nanotubes. He said if one nanotube fails, another is there as a 
backup. "Motorola has also figured out a way to ensure that a very 
high percentage of the electrons hit the proper phosphor dot."

He noted that the approach still has to be demonstrated in mass production.

  O'Connor said the nano-emissive technology using cathode ray display 
in a flat-screen format produces images with better brightness, 
contrast, color and viewing angle than plasma or LCDs.

  The technology has other potential applications, such as large 
screens for sports stadiums and billboard advertising, as well as use 
in devices to detect and eradicate infectious microbes, and also in 
fuel and solar cells, ultra-small transistors and memory chips.

  "The technology is ready to deliver now," said O'Connor.

  Motorola will be presenting its prototype May 22 at the Society for 
Information Display International Symposium in Boston.
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