Amorphyx: OSU startup wants a piece of LCD TV market

      CORVALLIS, Ore. - Liquid crystal display screens - LCDs - are integral to TVs, smart phones and other consumer electronics.

      A new startup in Corvallis born from research at Oregon State University wants a share of the $120 billion flat-panel TV industry.

      Tucked away in a corner of Owen Hall on the OSU campus is headquarters for Amorphyx, a company focused on backplanes.

      Backplanes are sort of like dimmer switches controlling the light that goes through pixels on your screen.

      The team at Amorphyx has found a way to make backplanes for 40 percent less cost than current technology. The process uses amorphous metals - metallic glass instead of crystaline metal - which are less expensive than the current materials used to make backplanes, according to the company.

      "It's a simpler structure, simpler device, simpler materials, easier to build, lower cost," said John Brewer, the company's CEO.

      The test chip was fabricated in the clean room at Owen Hall. The technology is an outgrowth of research at the university.

      Dr. Bill Cowell showed KVAL News a small prototype chip based on the new technology. "It's pretty exciting to be able to start something from a very base, research level and see it grow into something with tremendous commercial opportunity," said Cowell, technical officer for Amorphyx.

      Amorphyx was nominated for a grant from at the Willamette Angel Conference but didn't receive funding. The company is still seeking capital to set up a production plant in Corvallis and produce LCD backplanes to seel to customers in Asia.

      "We think we'll completely change the cost of the next generation of high-performance, high quality television," Brewer said.