Professor Hideo Hosono developed a semiconducting material, IGZO (Indium Gallium Zinc Oxide), which greatly contributed to the creation of new technologies for flat-panel displays that are more energy efficient and higher in definition. IGZO is used internationally by manufacturers.
Commercial IGZO panels were first brought to market by Sharp, but teardowns of the iPad Air have revealed an IGZO panel made by LG.
IGZO is a semiconductor material developed to make liquid crystal displays to rival more common (and cheaper) silicon-based alternatives. Sharp claims the technology means twice as much battery life, sharper images and a more than fivefold increase in the sensitivity of touch screens for smartphones and tablets, compared with conventional displays. Sharp started mass production of IGZO screens in March 2012.
The screens are more energy efficient because they don’t need to be refreshed constantly to prevent an image from flickering. Sharp says a standard amorphous silicon display may refresh itself 60 times a second when an image is on the screen, while IGZO refreshes itself only once a second. It can also pack more pixels into the displays for a higher-resolution screen.