The University Record, August 13, 1996

Lucent Technologies donates $18 million in flat panel display manufacturing equipment and intellectual property

Gov. John Engler (left) joined Interim President Homer A. Neal and other University officials in announcing the $18 million gift from Lucent Technologies.


A significant donation of flat panel display manufacturing equipment and intellectual property, valued at $18 million, has been presented to the Center for Display Technology and Manufacturing (DTM). U-M officials, along with Gov. John Engler, accepted the donation from Lucent Technologies during a ceremony held July 30 at the U-M. The donation will reinforce the Center's position as a world-class research, training and education facility supporting the U.S. flat panel display industry.

In addition to the donation from Lucent Technologies, DARPA---the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency---is transferring related equipment, valued at approximately $4 million, to the U-M.

The Lucent equipment, formerly part of Bell Laboratories' flat panel display research effort, will be integrated into the Center for Display Technology and Manufacturing at the College of Engineering. The Center, in partnership with its corporate members, is a focal point for research and development within the flat panel display manufacturing arena leading to high quality, low cost displays. These displays have numerous consumer and commercial applications, including automobiles, televisions, airplane cockpits and laptop computers.

"The fact that the DTM research center has been chosen by Lucent Technologies and DARPA to receive this equipment attests to the center's reputation in the flat panel display industry," said Interim President Homer A. Neal. "Since its creation just three years ago, DTM has emerged as a leader in industry, university and government efforts to address manufacturing issues critical to the emerging U.S. flat panel display industry."

Established in 1993 in cooperation with the federal government and private industry and with a major grant from the state of Michigan, the Center for Display Technology and Manufacturing conducts a wide range of advanced research in display manufacturing, provides technical employee training in cooperation with Henry Ford, Oakland, and Washtenaw County community colleges, provides technology transfer and commercialization, and sponsors an annual strategic forum to discuss policy and manufacturing issues in the global flat panel display industry.

"It is exciting to see how the Center has expanded and established Michigan as a world leader in the flat panel display industry," Engler said. "The additional momentum created by this generous donation from Lucent Technologies and DARPA will increase the Center's research and development capabilities and provide state-of-the-art job training opportunities for Michigan high-tech workers into the 21st century."

"The U-M Center for Display Technology and Manufacturing is one of the world's finest research, training and educational facilities supporting the U.S. flat panel display industry," said Bill Brinkman, physical sciences research vice president for Bell Laboratories. "With this state-of-the-art equipment, researchers will have the tools they need to develop new manufacturing technologies and materials that will benefit the entire industry."

"DTM is a perfect example of how industry, government and university resources can be combined in innovative ways for maximum impact on important areas of basic and applied research," said Stephen W. Director, dean of the College of Engineering.

What is a flat panel display?
Flat panel displays are the next generation of video display technology. These slim video display panels have already replaced bulky cathode ray tubes (CRTs) for generating images in laptop computers, in automobile navigation systems, and on military and commercial aircraft. Research under way at several university and industry laboratories, including the U-M Center for Display Technology and Manufacturing, may soon lead to wider use of flat panels in consumer electronics products---such as high-definition television sets so thin they can hang on a wall, video-equipped telephones and miniature computers.


What are active matrix liquid crystal displays (AMLCDs)?
Active matrix liquid crystals are the oldest and most intensively developed of several technologies used to generate images in flat panel displays. Most current high-definition flat panel displays use active matrix liquid crystal displays (AMLCDs) to generate the image, instead of cathode ray tubes which produce images in today's personal computer monitors and television sets.