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Summary of The TFT LCD Materials Report

Summary of The TFT LCD Materials Report

By Steve Jurichich, PhD DisplaySearch recently released The TFT LCD Materials Report, a comprehensive technical and market research report covering all aspects of TFT LCD materials and components. The highly anticipated 832-slide report examines 25 key TFT LCD materials and components, and forecasts their market size. The report includes market volume and revenue forecasts through 2009 that are based on DisplaySearch's worldwide market and supply/demand forecasts. Overall, the total FPD display industry is expected to be greater than $98 billion in revenues in 2007 and will increase to almost $108 billion by 2009. In 2007, TFT LCDs are expected to make up $77.5 billion of that amount and increase to $88.5 billion by 2009. From 2004 through 2009, the total TFT LCD materials market is expected to growth at 13% CAGR. Even with significant pricing pressures on many components and materials, we project that TFT LCD materials and components will reach a market revenue size of $54.5B by 2009. One of the fastest growing TFT LCD segments is the market for large-area LCD televisions. LCD TV panels are expected to total more than 81 million units in 2007 with the 40-42" segment growing at more than 100% Y/Y from Q3'06. Components and materials are expected to contribute more than 75% to the cost structure of 40-42" LCD TV panels from such top makers as Sony, Samsung, Sharp and LG.Philips LCD. For these panels, the following components and materials are the five most expensive components: · · · · · Backlight units, accounting for 33% of total costs Color filter: 19% Polarizer: 9% Array glass substrate: 8% Backlight inverter: 7%

Future technology and market trends of these and other important components and materials are expected to have a major impact on the growth of LCD TV and the other LCD markets. Technology and market trends that are impacting the competitive dynamics are discussed in each. Overall, the total FPD display industry is expected to be greater than $98 billion in revenues in 2007 and will increase to almost $108 billion by 2009. In 2007, TFT LCDs are expected to make up $77.5 billion of that amount and increase to $88.5 billion by 2009. From 2004 through 2009, the total TFT LCD materials market is expected to growth at 13% CAGR. Even with significant pricing pressures on many components and materials, we project that TFT LCD materials and components will reach a market revenue size of $54.5B by 2009 In 2006, total market for TFT materials and components made up almost 63% of the total revenue of TFT LCD market. Even with significant pricing pressures in many components, we projected that TFT LCD materials and components will reach $54.5B by 2009 and continue to make up 59% of TFT LCD revenues in 2009 as shown in the figure below.

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Summary of The TFT LCD Materials Report

Figure 1

Forecasts of TFT LCD Revenues and TFT LCD Materials Markets from 2004-2009

$100 $90 $80 $US Billions $70 $60 $50 $40 $30 $20 $10 $0 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 100.0% 90.0% 80.0% 70.0% 60.0% 50.0% 40.0% 30.0% 20.0% 10.0% 0.0%

Total Materials ($B) $26.132 $37.612 $43.798 $48.668 $51.661 $54.549 Total TFT LCD ($B) $49.03 $60.23 $69.27 $81.10 $87.70 $92.29 Materials Portion 53.3% 62.4% 63.2% 60.0% 58.9% 59.1%

Source: DisplaySearch, 2006 FPD Materials Report

The report covers a wide variety of TFT LCD materials and components, and is based on research and information from several sources: · · · · · · Publicly available information: presentations at academic seminars, trade shows and other forums, such as SID, FINETECH Japan, etc. Company websites Press releases Articles in various publications including SID Journals Interviews of companies in the TFT LCD supply chain, such as materials, equipment and panel makers Proprietary data basing and modeling: Over several years, DisplaySearch has developed detailed databases on installed base, capacity, yields, pricing and other information. Relying on these, we have developed various models to forecast both the past and future. Forecasts are validated by comparison to historical information and publicly released numbers when available and by conferring with people in the industry.

The following sections provide an overview of the materials covered in the report, organized into TFT array, module assembly and cell assembly sections. · TFT array materials include glass substrates, gases, sputter targets, photoresist, developer and photo masks.

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Summary of The TFT LCD Materials Report

·

The module assembly section covers backlight unit, light emitting diode, CCFL, brightness enhancing film (BEF), dual brightness enhancing film (DBEF), reflector films, diffuser film, TFT driver ICs, backlight inverter, TAB tape, and ACF. Finally, the cell assembly section includes color filter, alignment layer, liquid crystal, sealant, spacers, polarizers, viewing angle film and TAC.

·

TFT Array Materials

Glass substrates for TFT array and color filters are made of non-alkali borosilicate glass. This type of glass has high thermal and dimensional stability, which are critical in enabling a film to withstand the multiple elevated temperatures required of deposition and to ensure precision registration of the different layers in the final devices. The glass substrate is characterized by a low coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) and high strain point temperatures. Low temperature poly-Silicon (LTPS) generally requires a higher strain point than a-Si, although many manufacturers are using higher strain point substrates for their a-Si TFT process as well. Different glass manufacturers utilize different manufacturing methods, and their glass substrates will have different CTE and strain points. The largest glass substrate market participants include Asahi Glass Co. (AGC), Corning, NH Techno Glass (NHT) and Nippon Electro Glass (NEG). Corning, including Samsung Corning Precision Glass (SCP), had the largest capacity in 2006 with 70.6M m2 in 2006. Total glass revenue in 2006 (for both TFT array and CF) grew 27% Y/Y. Gases are involved in the deposition, dry etching and cleaning steps in TFT array fabrication. Some of the more economically significant gases deployed in TFT array fabrication include · · · Silane (SiH4) is used in plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) of hydrogenated amorphous-Silicon (a-Si:H). NH3 is used in PECVD Silicon nitrides (SiNx/SiN) via SiH4+NH3+N2(H2). NF3 is used in the cleaning of PECVD chambers where the fluorine species combine with Si (F + Si = SiF4) to etch away unwanted film buildup.

Gases used in TFT manufacturing generally have lower purity requirements than those used in semiconductor manufacturing. TFT manufacturers, however, often choose to utilize the more pure semiconductor grade of gas. Gas prices, especially NF3, have been under some pressure. SiH4 and NH3 are also facing some price pressure, but not as severe as NF3. Sputter targets are used in TFT array and color filter manufacturing to deposit metal thin films for gate, source/drain and pixel electrodes. In the color filter process, targets are used to deposit Cr black matrixes on smaller substrates and ITO common electrode films. Sputter targets are generally planar and are deployed in multi-chamber DC and RF magnetron Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) tools. Sputtering is an inefficient process with the percentage of target material that can be usefully used from the target termed the utilization. For stationary planar targets, utilization is typically 30-40%. Target utilization may be 40-50% for a moving magnetron. Rotatable targets with higher utilization are under development, but securing secondary sources is a concern. ITO, because it is a transmissive conductor with good electrical characteristics, is the dominant material used for the pixel and color filter electrodes. Major suppliers of ITO targets include the

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Summary of The TFT LCD Materials Report

Japanese firms include Mitsui Mining & Smelting, Nikko Materials, and Tosoh. Idemitsu is an emerging supplier for IZO. As displays become larger, the demand for low resistivity metals (to reduce video signal delay) such as Molybdenum (Moly) and Aluminum (and its alloys) is growing. Photoresist, or simply resist, is a complex material made up of polymers that have a photosensitive or photoactive compound that reacts to radiant energy (light, UV radiation, etc.) to transfer a desired pattern from a photo mask to an underlying thin-film layer. Resist comes in two varieties: positive and negative. Resist used for TFT arrays is mostly the positive type. Positive resist is a mature technology, and market trends include new coating technology that is reducing the amount of resist needed per substrate. Coating technology has evolved from with significant reduction in resist wastage. Slit coaters are achieving utilization of 90-98%, which is reducing the wastage of resist by more than an order of magnitude from spin coating. AZ Electronic Materials, Dongjin Semichem and Tokya Ohka Kogyo (TOK) are major positive photoresist manufacturers. Color resists are negative type resists that are photo-definable and need to meet the strict optical and mechanical specifications as color filters, which are stacked and defined optical layers. Color resist makers include Fujifilm Electronic Materials, JSR, LG Chem and Toyo Ink Manufacturing. Developer liquid is a chemical formula dissolved in water and sprayed on TFT and color filter substrates after exposure. Most positive resist for TFT arrays is developed by the developer material tetra methyl ammonium hydroxide (TMAH). Most negative resist for color filters is developed by organic alkali formulas. Diluted TMAH 2.38% is typical used to develop positive resists. Diluted TMAH 0.4% may be used to develop photo-definable organic passivation layers. KOH, Na2CO3+NaHCO3 + (surface active agent), etc. are diluted to 1-2% for color filter resist developing. Developing is a mature process, so technology trends tend to focus on reducing developer consumption. As substrates grew, spinning on developer became difficult and starting from gen 3.5 manufacturers switched to inclined conveyer "puddle" type developer systems where the excess developer runs off the substrate to a recycle/re-use tank. Recycling is deployed for TMAH used mainly with positive resists, but not for color resist developer, because of the difficultly separating the resist from the developer. Photomasks or masks used in both TFT array and color filter production are hard chrome type, made on synthetic quartz substrates, deposited with a thin chrome film, patterned by laser based direct write lithography, developed and etched with precise patterns that represent one layer of patterns replicated on the display. Masks are a unique necessity of conventional lithography used in conjunction with exposure machines to transfer display device patterns to the resist-coated substrate. The a-Si TFT array is typically manufactured with four or five mask steps. In conventional color filter manufacturing, the number of mask steps ranges from four to six. Increasing mask sizes have driven photo masks costs up substantially. Quartz is expensive and priced by volume. Larger masks are thicker to reduce warping. Polishing to meet flatness specifications of quartz blanks is a difficult process and has become even more challenging for larger sizes, which drives mask costs.

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Summary of The TFT LCD Materials Report

Next gen mask size and price may be key factors if the TFT LCD industry is able to migrate to larger than G8 mother glass. However, yield and line balancing are still concerns. Alternative patterning technologies, particularly for color filter, will restrict growth of mask market as adoption grows. Among the alternative patterning technologies being developed are ink-jet, offset printing, small-chained mask exposure, direct write, laser thermal printing and laser ablation.

Module Assembly Components & Materials

The Backlight Unit (BLU) is the source of light for TFT LCDs. Light is emitted from the fluorescent tubes (CCFLs) and the BLU consists of various components to reflect and redistribute the emitted light to ensure that the display is evenly lit. Backlights types include edge type for notebook PCs and monitors, and the direct type for TVs and monitors. Major suppliers include Radiant and Coretronic from Taiwan, and Taesan and Heesung from Korea. Sharp's capacity is dedicated to in-house production. In Taiwan, AUO and CMO are gradually expanding their in-house backlight assembly for LCD TV backlights. The CCFL (Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamp) is used as a light source in the majority of LCD backlight units. CCFLs have high brightness, high efficiency, low power consumption and long lifetimes. Until recently, CCFL-based backlights in conjunction with color filter produced a color gamut of 72% NTSC. There have been recent improvements in the phosphor coating used in the glass tubes; advanced CCFL-based backlights now are now able to generate more than 90% of NTSC. The backlight inverter is a component circuit with both active (controller IC) and passive components (transformers, inductors, resistor, capacitors) on a printed circuit board that is used to provide power to CCFLs. As LCD panels become larger, more CCFLs will be needed, so inverter prices will increase. Trends in inverters include the reduction in the number of multi-layer ceramic capacitors (MLCCs), reductions in the size and cost of the transformers, and improvements in inverter efficiency. LCD TV inverter revenue share is expected to grow in 2007, but is expected to shrink in 2008 due to price erosion. Light Emitting Diode (LED) backlights have been used in small portable TFT LCDs and are now being adapted to notebook PC and LCD TV applications. For notebook PCs, LED backlights advantages include being thin and lightweight, free of mercury and having a thin bezel. They can also reduce power consumption in lower brightness operating conditions. For monitors, LEDs can offer higher color gamut, but since multiple lamps are required, the total cost is significantly higher than with CCFLs. For LCD TV applications, LED backlights can provide high color saturation, dynamic contrast control and a blinking backlight for reduction of motion blur. Again, these come at a significantly higher cost. LED backlights keep extending penetration in the notebook PC market. Most of the LCD TV panel makers are planning to launch LED backlights in late 2006, although the main early adopter, Sony, did not have much sales success with its first LED backlight TV. Brightness Enhancement Film (BEF) is also referred to as prism sheet or lens film. It is a microreplicated prism structure film in the LCD backlight module that enhances the luminance of the backlight module and thereby the LCD module.

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Summary of The TFT LCD Materials Report

Besides 3M's dominant share of the BEF market, there are numerous new players coming into the market with their own prism sheet or multi-functional film products such as MNTech, E-Fun, Mitsubishi Rayon (in V-cut type notebook backlight), Reflexite, LGE, Kodak, General Electric and LGS. Dual Brightness Enhancement Film (DBEF) is a 3M proprietary technology. 3M has a strong IP, technical and manufacturing position in DBEF, but several panel makers are starting to seek alternative solutions to replace the DBEF film, especially by using diffusers to replace DBEF in their 32-40" LCD TV panels. A certain fraction of 32", 37" and 40" LCD TV panels are expected to be shipped without DBEF. A positive growth factor for the DBEF market is the rapidly growing 1080p segment, which requires DBEF to meet their brightness requirements due to the low transmittance of the higher resolution. A potential negative factor is that lower brightness LCDs are being tested by LCD TV manufacturers to reduce costs and to attract price sensitive consumers. In addition, TN panels with higher transmittance and new multi-functional films contribute to a less optimistic outlook. Cost reduction efforts are being driven by panel makers and backlight unit makers to drive down the price of the DBEF film. Diffuser films are one of the basic elements of the backlight unit. Normally backlight units require at least two diffuser films: a top and bottom diffuser film. The top diffuser film is placed on top of the BEF to protect the BEF. The bottom diffuser is placed between the BEF and a light guide plate for light diffusion. Both diffuser films are PET (polyester) or PC (polycarbonate) based. The top diffuser has higher technical requirements and is priced higher than the bottom diffuser film. In LCD monitors, many panel makers and backlight makers are using a three-diffuser film structure to replace the traditional "Diffuser + BEF + Diffuser" structure. In LCD TVs, due to the emerging acceptance of lower brightness, many panel makers are considering the use of a bottom diffuser film to replace the DBEF. Reflector films are another basic element of the backlight unit. A backlight unit typically requires at least one reflector. The function of the reflector film is to reflect and recycle the light from the side of the light guide plate of the backlight. The raw material of the reflector film is PET (polyester). There are two kinds of reflector films: a white reflector used in all applications and a silver reflector for small/medium and notebook PC applications. Toray and Teijin DuPont are the leading reflector film companies. Other reflector film suppliers include 3M, Keiwa, Tsujiden, SKC and Kimoto. Normally, reflector film makers purchase the raw materials from raw PET materials suppliers and process the coating themselves. Toray, Teijin DuPont and 3M also make their own PET materials. For the same size and area, notebook PC reflectors have a higher unit price than monitor reflectors because double-sided coating and higher reflection rate. The light guide plate (LGP) is a structural component used to guide and disperse the light from the CCFL (or other light source) through the entire front surface of the backlight unit. The raw material for the LGP is polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), also known as acrylic. Typically, there are two types of LGP, a flat type, mostly used in monitors, and a wedge type LGP, mostly used in notebook PC panels. LCD TV panels require multiple lamps and a "direct" type of backlight is deployed.

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Summary of The TFT LCD Materials Report

The LGP is the heaviest part of the backlight unit and accounts for about 15-20% of the weight of the backlight module. One trend in LGPs is to integrate the prism (BEF) with the LGP by forming a V-groove on the LGP, which would allow thinner and brighter notebook PC panels. Another is the prism LGP, which patterns a V-shape in the bottom of LGP for light centralization and reflects light source vertically with a reverse prism sheet, which does not require a separate BEF film, reducing thickness and cost. LGP suppliers include Wooyoung, Radiant, Coretronic, Pontex, Kenmos, JinMinShang, GLT, Enplas and Zeon. The backlight inverter is an electronic circuit that takes a DC (direct current) input voltage and creates the appropriate AC (alternating current) output signal, which is delivered as the main power to the backlight. The inverter circuit includes both active (controller IC) and multiple passive components (transformers, inductors, resistor, capacitors) on a printed circuit board with connectors to the CCFLs. A high strike voltage over 1000V is generally needed to turn on the CCFLs. The inverter price is determined not by panel's size, but by the number of CCFLs needed. However, as LCD panel sizes become larger, more CCFLs are needed, and the average inverter prices will increase correspondingly. Trends in inverter designs include the reduction in the number of Multi-Layer Ceramic Capacitors (MLCCs), reductions in the size and cost of the transformers, and improvements in the inverter efficiency which will lead to inverter price decreases for a given number of CCFLs. Leading LCD TV inverter makers include Darfon, Foxconn, Logah, Sharp and Taiyo Yuden. The driver IC is an integrated circuit that supplies the voltage levels that control the amount of light that the liquid crystal allows to pass through the LCD. Since the driver IC "drives" the liquid crystal, it controls images or video and gray scales that are observed on a TFT LCD. The gate driver IC switches the TFT on and off, while the data or source driver ICs provides the voltages that control the different levels of gray scale. The number of the output channels is a key specification of an LCD driver IC. Because the source driver IC switches the voltages of the sub-pixel rather than pixel, the number of data (source) driver IC's channels must equal the number of sub-pixel lines on the column side of the resolution. The gate driver IC switches voltages of the gate electrode bus line rather than the sub-pixel data. The required number of the gate driver channels is determined by the number of row lines. Leading driver IC makers include Samsung, Novatek, Himax, NEC, Oki and MagnaChip. TAB (Tape Automated Bonding) is the process of mounting bare driver IC die on a flexible tape made of polymer material, such as polyimide, called the TAB tape. TAB tape is used in the Tape Carrier Package (TCP, often used interchangeably with TAB) method of attaching driver ICs to LCD panel. The TAB bonds connecting the die and the tape are known as inner-lead bonds (ILB), while those that connect the tape to the package or to external circuits are known as outer-lead bonds (OLB). A reel of TAB tape is fed through an automatic machine that pushes the driver IC die and the TAB leads onto the epoxy. Then the silver-loaded epoxy is cured using reflow soldering or vapor-

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Summary of The TFT LCD Materials Report

phase soldering, which forms electrical connections between the TAB leads and the pads on the glass substrate. While TAB tape offers advantages, it has several disadvantages: · · · The time and cost of fabricating the tape The need to 'tailor-fit' the tape pattern after each die Capital expense for TAB equipment

It is increasingly being replaced by COF (chip on film) packaging, which may be viewed as an evolution of TAB. Major TAB market participants include the following suppliers: Hitachi Cable Mitsui Kinzoku, and Shindo. ACF (Anisotropic Conductive Film) is a tape adhesive filled with conducting particles allowing for electrical contact in the vertical direction between an LCD driver chip to an LCD panel or PWB (printed wiring board). ACF is also used to connect driver chips mounted on glass (COG), tape carrier package (TCP), or chip on film (COF). ACF is a tape adhesive that is applied from a reel. The sequence of steps in applying ACF is 1. Pre-laminate the ACF film to the electrodes of the LCD panel or TCP. 2. Remove the protective release film. 3. Align the TCP electrodes with the LCD panel electrodes. 4. Apply pressure (20-50 kg/cm2) for 10-20 seconds at 170-180C°. There are more stringent requirements concerning the pitch of the interconnection and higher reflow temperatures, which places a premium on ACF for COF and COG applications, and explains their higher price than ACF for TAB/TCP applications. The ACF market is dominated by Hitachi Chemical and Sony Chemical Information Devices (SCID).

Cell Assembly Materials & Components

The Color filter (CF) is typically the second most expensive component used in LCDs at 15-20% of the total display cost. CF costs are dominated by glass (39%) and equipment depreciation (15%). In 2006, there were 30 CF producers with 21 being in-house LCD makers and 9 merchant suppliers. The trend to move CF production in-house is expected to continue. Emerging technologies include the potential elimination of photolithography from the CF process by adopting alternative patterning, which may reduce total CF cost by 20%. There are typically four to six layers coated and patterned on during the color filter (CF) manufacturing process. These can include black matrix; red, green and blue sub-pixels; vertical alignment (VA) protrusions; and photo-spacers. Photolithography can potentially be completely eliminated from the CF process by adopting alternative patterning and other new technologies, which could reduce total CF costs by 20%, although the expensive glass substrate would remain There are 30 separate CF manufacturers, 21 in-house producers and 9 merchant suppliers.

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Summary of The TFT LCD Materials Report

The alignment layer or orientation layer refers to the thin layer of polymer, typically polyimide (PI) that is applied to both the color filter and TFT-array substrates that orients the liquid crystal molecules and affects the electro-optical performance of the LCD. Two types of polyimide are used: solvent soluble pre-imidized polyimide and polyamic acid. Polyimides are commonly coated by flexographic printing. Growing demand for wide viewing angle technologies, VA and IPS, requires new more expensive alignment layer materials. Market participants include JSR, Nissan Chemical and Chisso. Liquid crystal (LC) material changes the polarization of illumination from the backlight according to the voltage applied to it, enabling the operation of LCDs. It plays a critical role in determining viewing angle, response time, gray scale, power consumption, color saturation and contrast ratio performance of TFT LCDs. The growth of large-area LCD TVs is driving the growth of wide viewing angle LC modes such as vertically aligned (VA) and in-plane-switching (IPS). These modes are generally more expensive than the conventional twisted nematic (TN) mode. Sealant is used to seal the periphery of liquid crystal layer between the TFT array and the color filter. There are two main types of sealants used in LCD manufacturing: thermo-hardening sealants, which are made of an epoxy resins, and a UV-hardening type with an acrylic resin. Thermo-hardening sealants were common through gen 4 TFT lines. They were applied by screen-printing. With the advent of ODF in gen 5 and higher, requirements on contamination of the LC have lead to newer high purity UV-hardening sealants, which are typically applied with dispensers. Mitsui Chemical, Kyoritsu Chemical, Nippon Kayaku and Sekisui Chemical are the leading suppliers. Spacers come in two major kinds: bead spacers and photospacers. Bead spacers are typically spherical or rod-shaped and are made of resin (polymer), silica or glass fiber. Bead spacers have been the dominant spacer technology through the gen 4 lines. Trends for faster response times, wider viewing angles, higher resolutions and contrast ratios have led to higher spacer diameter uniformity requirements, which have led to the development of photospacers. Photospacers are made of photo-definable materials and are patterned by lithography. Photospacers have grown rapidly in the past couples of years starting with Gen 5 lines and larger that use ODF. Starting with gen 5, panel manufacturers began shifting from bead spacers to photospacers. Photospacers are patterned over the black matrix during the CF process and lie outside the CCFL light path. Therefore, they lead to less light leakage and result in higher contrast ratios. Ink-jet printing of spacer balls is being developed, which may allow for removing a photo step from the color filter process and to reduce costs. The TFT LCD polarizer market is expected grow from $4.2 billion in 2006 to $5.4 billion in 2009. 86% of the market revenue comes from polarizers for the large-area panels (10" and larger TFT LCDs). On a revenue basis, LCD TVs are expected to lead from 2007, earning a 44% share in 2007. LCD TV demand is expected to increase to 55% of the total large-area TFT LCD polarizer market by 2009. Polarizers are composed of different films. The main polarizer has three layers including PVA (polarizer layer) and TAC film (protection layer). Supply of TAC and PVA is dominated by Fuji Photo Film and Kuraray. These two key polarizer components are also the key factors in determining the supply of polarizers.

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Summary of The TFT LCD Materials Report

Compensation films include WV films for TN mode, TAC based and non-TAC based compensation films for VA and IPS mode. Although there are more than nine compensation film vendors, Fuji Photo Film and Konica dominate the market. Nitto Denko produces compensation films for its polarizers. The growth of large area LCD TVs is driving the growth of wide viewing angle LC modes such as vertically aligned (VA) and in-plane-switching (IPS). These modes are generally more expensive than the conventional twisted nematic (TN) mode. Wide viewing angle film has been developed by film makers such as Fujifilm. Fujifilm is a major manufacturer of TAC. Fujifilm calls this film "WV Film," and this has become a generic term of the industry. Fujifilm (Fuji Photo Film) is the only supplier for WV film for TN mode. The evolution of WV film has been from WV to SMV to EWV. The "Excellent Wide View" film has helped panel makers to achieve 160° horizontal and 140° vertical viewing angles compared to the 150°/120° of the last generation WV. Panel makers are starting adopt the EWV film in their monitor and TV panels. VA, IPS and FFS are alternative wide-viewing angle LC modes that do not require WV film. TAC (Triacetyl Cellulose) is material derived the chemical reaction of cotton fibers (a kind of cellulose) with acetic acid to form Acetyl Triacetyl Cellulose (with Acetyl >43%). TAC is one of the main constituents of polarizers along with PET film, PSA, PVA, and WV (Wide View) film. TAC functions as the key support and protective layer for PVA, which is the main polarizing light controller of polarizers. TAC supply and demand imposes the most significant limitation on polarizer supply. Through Q1'07, TAC shows sufficient supply due to the expanded capacity of TAC suppliers. However, DisplaySearch forecasts TAC supply will be tight in Q2'07 due to surging demand for LCD TV panels. Fuji Photo Film and Konica Minolta are the major TAC film suppliers. These two vendors are also the major TAC base compensation film suppliers. Newcomers into the TAC market can only get into the business with the low end TN and STN modes currently.

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