MANHASSSET, N.Y. Looking beyond traditional technologies, Panorama Labs is seeking to exploit the concept of magneto photonic crystals to develop high-resolution cinema-quality displays.
Founded in 2003, Panorama is trying to apply nanotechnology fabrication to magneto crystal materials to produce the technology for larger, high-res displays. The technology would enable fast pixel refresh rates as well as better grey-scale and color rendition than existing flat-panel technologies such as liquid crystal displays (LCDs) and plasma, according to the company.
"We have the potential to be a significant display technology," said Keith Davies, vice president of marketing and licensing for Panorama, in an interview with EE Times.
Although Davies said the use of magneto photonic crystal technology would be a first for displays, the concept the technology uses is well knownthe Faraday effect whereby polarized light is rotated by traveling through a magnetic field. The concept is employed in Faraday switches for telecomm equipment, Davies noted.
As applied to magneto photonic crystals, colored light is provided by a diffuse polarized laser which then passes the light through the electromagnet. The magneto polarized crystal is rotated to a degree determined by the voltage applied, with the light then passed through a polarizing filter.
For displays, magneto-photonic crystals would provide RGB color filtering, bandwidth control, optical switching speeds in the 20-nanosecond range, the ability to control over 1024 grey-scale levels, and very low power requirements, according to the company.
"We're looking at the problems of not having enough resolution to transition from film to digital cinema," Davies said. "Semiconductor technology is not able to yield enough pixels. When you get to higher resolution, the cost per pixel increases."
Davis said the technology could produce resolutions of typically 4000 x 2000 lines, which he claims is higher than projection technologies such as Texas Instruments' Digital Light Processing (DLP). Moreover, magneto photonic crystals are manufactured through a relatively simply three mask step process, which Davies said is far less expensive than the fab processes for liquid crystal displays.
According to Davies, Panorama is now refining the manufacturing process for the magneto-photonic crystal technology and has developed working prototypes of the integrated wave guide that would serve as the platform for future applications. However, he declined to specify when products developed through the process would be available.
Davies said the company would initially develop and manufacture technology for the digital cinema market. For other display applications, Davies said the company tentatively plans to license the technology or seek manufacturing partners.
Panorama is privately funded and managed by a team of veterans from the display industry. The company has offices in New York City; Los Angeles, and Perth in Western Australia.