While talking about breakthrough technologies possible with the collaboration of electronics and chemicals, Dr Osamu Kumagai, SVP, corporate executive, president, advanced materials laboratories, president, core device development group, Sony Corporation, speaks to Uma Bansal, executive editor at EFY, about the future of advanced chemistry in India.
JULY 2011: Q. What are the major breakthroughs in electronics which are made possible by chemicals recently?
A.Some commercially available technologies include:
1. LCD (liquid crystal materials are organic materials serving as electric light shutters)
2. Organic LED display (organic materials serve as a light emitting materials)
3. Electronic Paper (electrophoretic display)
Technologies in developmental phase include flexible displays made by organic thin film transistors in which organic materials serve as semiconductors, and also dye-sensitised solar cells where organic dyes serve as photoelectric conversion elements.
Q. What further potential do they have to change the way electronic products are designed and used?
A. Organic materials can be designed to be soluble as an ink through chemical synthesis. With an ink we can utilise the printing technology. This costs much less than the conventional silicon process, and has a very high throughput. It does not need high temperature, so we can use plastic films as substrates for devices. All this combined we can produce organic or plastic-based flexible products; for example, flexible, thin, lightweight electronic paper just like real paper in the future.
Q. Coming to LED displays and flexible TVs, how would these chemicals impact the product innovation by Sony?
A. The research and development (R&D) of organic and molecular materials is quite important in the field of organic electronics. ‘Organic molecules’ mean the compounds with carbon frames. We can have various properties by changing molecules through chemical reactions. For example, if we manage to add the solubility, such a chemical can be made to an ink. We can coat or print with this ink to make a device.
Sony develops new materials such as organic semiconductors and dyes through organic and molecular synthesis.
Q. What’s the reason for Sony to choose India and PI Industries for this futuristic research collaboration?
A. We are trying to make use of open innovation with various overseas laboratories in the field of materials and devices R&D. We will continue to bring new innovations with global wisdoms for prosperous lifestyle in the future.
PI Industries have more than 60 years of history in the fields of various custom-order synthesis, ranging from pesticides, to polymer-based precision components to pharmaceutical intermediates. It’s a leading company in Indian chemical industry.
We had a chance to visit their R&D laboratory and learned that the lab was highly sophisticated and running under an excellent management team.
Q. How do you see the future of advanced chemistry in India and the role Indian academia, Indian chemical companies and R&D centres can play?
A. India is highly respected in information technology and software development. And also in the chemical field, Indian companies including PI Industries and academia have advanced expertise. In addition, Indian market and industries will grow to become huge and energetic. Indian chemical companies and R&D centres can play as one of the world leaders.
Q. What are the future products, strategy and areas of research of Sony Corp.?
A. In today’s business, we focus on 3D TV and related systems, entertainment contents download services and customised products for emerging markets.
For future business creation, in addition to organic and flexible electronics commented above, we will focus on new technologies in environment and energy area, and also healthcare and medical electronics area.
In environment and energy area, we are developing dye-sensitised solar cells, next-generation battery materials, home energy network solutions, recycled plastics, bio plastics, and so on. In healthcare and medical electronics area, we are developing biomolecule sensing and testing technologies utilising our consumer electronics technologies.
Q. You have set up a joint research centre for synthetic organic chemicals. What are the intended electronics applications for these chemicals?
A. We are discussing and studying about these terms. We cannot comment on the exact applications at this moment.