Organic LED Displays (OLEDs) - The Next Trend?

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Wouldn't you like to be able to read off the screen of your laptop in direct sunlight? Your mobile phone battery to last much, much longer? Or your next flat screen TV to be less expensive, much flatter, and even flexible? Thanks to a breakthrough technology called Organic Displays, this could soon be reality.

Although the technology behind Organic LED (OLED) displays is pure chemistry, the applications are much more everyday - mobile telephone and television screens, laptop and stereo displays, car navigation systems, or even billboards.

This OLED technology is based on a revolutionary discovery that light-emitting, fast switching diodes could be made from polymers as well as from semiconductors. Starting from a standard LCD glass covered with structured ITO (Indium-Tin-Oxide), the polymer materials are applied by precision ink jet printing. Using this technology, pixels of red, green, and blue material are applied. After the patterned cathode has been applied via metal evaporation, the cell is sealed.

Philips states that the big advantage of the manufacturing process is its simplicity and therefore its potential for low cost; only a very limited number of process steps are needed. This procedure requires fewer manufacturing steps than the manufacturing of LCDs, and, more importantly, fewer materials are used. In fact, the whole display can be built on one sheet of glass or plastic, so it should be cheaper to manufacture. Philips' thin-film PolyLED technology will enable the production of full-color displays less than 1 mm thick. Combined with a large viewing angle, high brightness and contrast, and full video capability, PolyLED displays are ideal for the next generation of information displays.

The Kodak EasyShare LS633 zoom digital camera uses Kodak's innovative, award-winning AM OLED technology to display bright, sharp images for better on-camera viewing and sharing from virtually any angle.

The LS633 camera represented a major milestone in the development and manufacture of OLED displays exhibiting more vivid images and crisper video to consumer electronics. The Kodak display AM550L features 165-degree viewing on a 2.2-inch screen that is up to 107 percent larger than the LCDs on most cameras.

OLED display technology from Kodak is already found in car audio components manufactured by Pioneer and cellular phones marketed by Motorola and Sanyo . With ongoing research conducted by Kodak and its technology licensees, the applications for OLEDs continue to expand, making it clearly the display technology of the future.

Not only can they provide brighter, better images at a lower cost, but best of all: Organic Displays use a material with self-luminous properties that eliminates the need for a backlight. While backlighting is a crucial component to improving brightness in LCDs, it also adds significant cost as well as requiring extra power - which, for instance, translates into the heavy batteries in your laptop. With an organic display, your laptop might be less heavy to carry around, or your battery lasts much longer compared to a laptop equipped with a traditional LCD screen.

Polymer LEDs have several inherent properties that afford unique possibilities, such as:

  • All colors of the visible spectrum are available
  • High brightness is achieved at low drive voltages/current densities
  • No viewing angle dependence
  • Operating lifetime exceeding 10,000 hours
  • High response speeds allow display of high quality video
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