02 November 2011

New Development in Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) Production

OLED. The name doesn't really excite people but what it is will surely turn the world upside down in terms of viewing technology.

But imagine a television or computer screen you can roll up like a newspaper or even a light bulb as thin as a picture frame.

OLED stands for Organic Light-Emitting Diode. Not to be confused with LCD screens, OLED do not need to be backlit with LEDs or lamps.

They produce light on their own and ar thin and flexible.

These are already used in TV screens, monitors, mobile phones, and tablet computers. Some commercial visual displays also use OLED screens. Most of these screens use AMOLED (Active Matrix OLED) technology as they have a higher resolution than Passive Matrix OLEDs. An AMOLED screen has a thin-film transistor that switches each individual pixel on or off giving it better control and clarity of the image. Current manufacturing costs are what hinders this type of screen of breaking into the mainstream market.

According to Physics World, Paul Blom and Ton van Mol from the Holst Centre in Eindhoven are studying a way of creating thin and flexible OLED sheets thru a newspaper style process of printing. The process the two are looking into is to dissolve the OLED in a liquid solvent and spray it into a thin roll of flexible plastic foil. It is similar to how a newspaper in a printing press is printed, "roll to roll".

Video: OLED

With this process, OLED may jump from the display screen category to the lighting industry. OLED lamps and lightbulbs.

"Traditional LEDs have so far failed to become a viable alternative to light bulbs because, despite being highly efficient, they have to be fabricated in clean rooms and so are expensive to make. But with about 20 per cent of the electricity the world consumes going on lighting, Blom and Van Mol state that any new, more-efficient lighting technology could greatly reduce global energy consumption... OLEDs are poised to take over from the light bulb as their spray-on production makes them a faster and cheaper alternative to traditional LEDs and can be produced en mass through the "roll-to-roll" newspaper technique..."
Source: Physics World

Blom and Van Mol writes, "Many companies recognize the potential of OLEDs and are investing heavily in research and development in the hope that when this technology finally takes off, they will be in pole position to take advantage,"

Samsung unveiled the world's thinnest OLED display last October 2008. Measuring just 0.05mm, they announced that it was "thinner than paper". They also showcased a 40 inch OLED TV with full HD resolution of 1920x1080. Currently, their Samsung Galaxy S uses the latest AMOLED Display.

Not to be outdone, Sony is also releasing its OLED based products. Their PlayStation Vita handheld game console will feature a 5-inch OLED screen. LG Electronics has also announced a 55 inch prototype for 2012.

It will be just a matter of time when we see lighting products with this technology.

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