Sharp Starts Mass Production Of High Pixel Density IGZO LCD Panels

BY Rounak Jain

Published 13 Apr 2012

In an announcement today, Sharp revealed that it has started mass production of high resolution LCD display panels using IGZO (Indium gallium zinc oxide) semiconductors.

IGZO is a type of semiconducting material, which, when used in displays, allows for smaller sized pixels and hence a higher pixel density. Along with increasing the pixel per inch count, IGZO displays also consume less energy, making it an ideal fit for upcoming tablets and mobile phones.

PC World reports:

Sharp said the new technology allows for twice the detail of existing panels at the same transparency, which means high-resolution devices can be designed that require less power and space for backlighting. The company said the new displays cut power consumption by up to 90 percent versus those currently in use.

Less lighting and smaller battery requirements allow for thinner devices, and analysts have said Apple will use IGZO displays in its upcoming products, including its highly-anticipated entry into the smart TV market.

The displays are being made in Sharp’s Kameyama plant in Japan, which was earlier used for manufacturing LCD panels for Televisions. Sharp, realizing the high demand for smaller sized displays, reorganized the plant to tap into the growing smartphone and tablet market.

Apple’s rumored to be interested in IGZO panels since late last year, earlier for the iPad (which obviously didn’t work out), and now for its Television set. It has been developing its relationship with Sharp over the past year and a half, investing a reported $1.2 billion in one of Sharp’s facilities in China.

Sample screen resolutions with the IGZO display

In the above chart, Sharp lists out a few sample specifications of IGZO LCD panels. A 32″ IGZO display would pack in more than 8 million pixels at a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 and a pixel density of 140 ppi. A similar display at a 10″ size would have a million pixels more than the current iPad’s 9.7 inch screen, with a pixel density of 300 ppi. For comparison, the new iPad’s pixel density is 264 ppi.

Even MacBooks are rumored to go Retina, and IGZO displays, with their high resolutions and reduced energy consumption, might just prove to be a perfect fit.