The US Display Consortium (USDC) has awarded a $365,000 cost-shared contract to Etched in Time Inc. (EITI), a Tempe, Ariz., engineering and equipment company specializing in semiconductor flat panel and solar equipment manufacturing, to evaluate plasma-etching sources for large-area panels used to make flexible displays and electronics. EITI will focus on improving specifications of etch tools currently in production, addressing innovations needed for flexible-electronics applications, including solar panels. Bob Henderson, president of Etched in Time, said, "To make the transition to large-area electronics, improved uniformity and feature profiles -- e.g., sidewall angles -- are critical, as well as minimizing ion damage of dielectrics and achieving higher etch rates. Our goal in the USDC contract is to provide a pathway for customers to etch a variety of materials and a methodology for etching in a linear large-area system suitable for future roll-to-roll (R2R) processing." EITI said it also expects to identify areas where high-density, low-damage plasma generation for etching new materials might be able to replace existing silicon nitride used for antireflection and passivation on current solar cells. The Display Consortium, based in San Jose, Calif., is a public-private R&D organization of flat-panel-display manufacturers, developers, users and suppliers. EITC, an associatie member of the consortium, is located at the Arizona State University Macrotechnology building, which houses the Arizona State University Flexible Display Center.