This article has been written in collaboration with Prof. Luiz Fernando Ribeiro Pereira, i3N, Universidade de Aveiro, Portugal.
Can you imagine your life without Light? No! Without light vision power will be lost, while in daily life technology has taken us far away from the ancestors.
Lighting is a global and growing market. New forms of efficient solid state lighting technology are rapidly gaining a major foot hold in the market. New OLED technologies (Organic Light Emitting Diode) are aimed at revolutionizing both lighting and display industry because of the flexible structure and the ease to tailor their properties, including the color of emitted light and structural modifications.
From smallest display in the watch to large-area, transparent, flexible and low-energy display and lighting products, the flexibility of OLEDs enables manufacturers to produce OLEDs using roll-to-roll manufacturing processes and allows for the production of flexible display and lighting such as TV screens, tablets or mobile phones.
TREMENDOUS MARKET POTENTIAL
The market forecast of OLED lighting market predicts a 10-fold growth from $200 million in 2015 to $1.7 billion by 2020. The academia and industry in Europe’s USA’s and Asia’s exponential growth have already sensed this huge exponential growth. Hence they are keen to develop new technologies eyeing the huge market potential.
Technology “moves beyond the limits”! OLED is all the buzz in today’s technology market. But what is OLED?
“OLEDs” are solid-state devices composed of thin films of organic molecules which emit light when an electric current is introduced. When the light passes through the layers, it produces spectacular high definition images. Simple, right?
OLED’s can provide brighter displays with a crisper image and use less power than LED or LCD in the process. LG OLED signage provides 5000 times faster motion picture response time, for perfectly clear images without blurring.
GIANT LIGHTNING INDUSTRIES
LG, Samsung, and Lenovo are known for “giant lightning Industries” for both the technology as well as research. LG came up with a perfect OLED design that only has two layers, making their digital signage display unbelievably light-weight and incredibly thin; 4.5 mm at its thinnest point. They used a unique advanced four color pixel technology that adds a white pixel to the traditional sub-pixel red, green and blue. Together with LG, LENOVO launched their first ever 14” OLED laptop with AMOLED display.
In the similar context, Samsung’s current research on technology is ongoing on foldable OLED smartphone and 55’ transparent and mirror OLED which was prototyped in Q2 of 2016. There is an increasing demand of OLEDs from Chinese Huawei, OPPO, Vivo, Meizu and other smartphone brands. Apple Inc. is also now widely expected to use OLED displays in its upcoming iPhone-8 model.
Global AMOLED manufacturing capacity is expected to increase from 10 million square meters in 2016-17 to 30 million square meters in 2020.
WHAT FUTURE HOLDS FOR OLEDS?
Recent demonstrations by display and lighting companies already have hinted at the potential of flexible OLED technology. Substantial development efforts, if successful, flexible OLED panels may become commercially available as early by 2020.
Developing sufficiently durable and flexible OLEDs will require better materials and further development of manufacturing tools and processes. Flexible plastic substrates need improved barrier layers to protect OLEDs from moisture and oxygen. Thin-film encapsulation also is needed to create thin and flexible metal- and glass-based OLEDs.
FAR FROM DEAD
Obviously, the fact that we’re still talking about OLED in 2016 means that the technology is far from dead, but after so many years of trying to make it work it’s difficult to maintain hope that it will ever be truly affordable. But just because OLED isn’t affordable yet doesn’t mean it’s not getting better.
The prices of LG phone sets start at $1,800 in the US and £1,400 in the UK, and Panasonic’s are more expensive. Still, this price tag isn’t what we’d consider in budget considering what OLEDs were retailing for even just a year ago.
If this trend continues we might just see the technology become mainstream in a couple of years’ time, but for now, OLED remains something for enthusiasts.