An organic light-emitting diode (OLED) is a light-emitting diode (LED)
in which the emissive electroluminescent layer is a film of organic
compound that emits light in response to an electric current. This
layer of organic semiconductor is situated between two electrodes;
typically, at least one of these electrodes is transparent. OLEDs are
used to create digital displays in devices such as television screens,
computer monitors, portable systems such as mobile phones, handheld
game consoles and PDAs. A major area of research is the development of
OLED devices for use in solid-state lighting
There are two main families of OLED: those based on small molecules
and those employing polymers. Adding mobile ions to an
OLED creates a
light-emitting electrochemical cell (LEC) which has a slightly
different mode of operation. An O
LED display can be driven with a
passive-matrix (PMOLED) or active-matrix (AMOLED) control scheme. In
OLED scheme, each row (and line) in the display is controlled
sequentially, one by one, whereas
AMOLED control uses a thin-film
transistor backplane to directly access and switch each individual
pixel on or off, allowing for higher resolution and larger display
LED display works without a backlight because it emits visible
light. Thus, it can display deep black levels and can be thinner and
lighter than a liquid crystal display (LCD). In low ambient light
conditions (such as a dark room), an
OLED screen can achieve a higher
contrast ratio than an LCD, regardless of whether the LCD uses cold
cathode fluorescent lamps or an LED backlight.
1.1 The first practical OLEDs
2 Working principle
3 Carrier balance
4 Material technologies
4.1 Small molecules
Polymer light-emitting diodes
4.3 Phosphorescent materials
5 Device architectures
5.2 Patterning technologies
5.3 Backplane technologies
9 Manufacturers and commercial uses
9.4 LG applications
9.6 Recom Group/video name tag applications
11 See also
12 Further reading
14 External links
André Bernanose and co-workers at the
Nancy-Université in France
made the first observations of electroluminescence in organic
materials in the early 1950s. They applied high alternating voltages
in air to materials such as acridine orange, either deposited on or
dissolved in cellulose or cellophane thin films. The proposed
mechanism was either direct excitation of the dye molecules or
excitation of electrons.
Martin Pope and some of his co-workers at New York University
developed ohmic dark-injecting electrode contacts to organic
crystals. They further described the necessary energetic
requirements (work functions) for hole and electron injecting
electrode contacts. These contacts are the basis of charge injection
in all modern
OLED devices. Pope's group also first observed direct
current (DC) electroluminescence under vacuum on a single pure crystal
of anthracene and on anthracene crystals doped with tetracene in
1963 using a small area silver electrode at 400 volts. The
proposed mechanism was field-accelerated electron excitation of
Pope's group reported in 1965 that in the absence of an external
electric field, the electroluminescence in anthracene crystals is
caused by the recombination of a thermalized electron and hole, and
that the conducting level of anthracene is higher in energy than the
exciton energy level. Also in 1965, W. Helfrich and W. G. Schneider of
the National Research Council in Canada produced double injection
recombination electroluminescence for the first time in an anthracene
single crystal using hole and electron injecting electrodes, the
forerunner of modern double-injection devices. In the same year, Dow
Chemical researchers patented a method of preparing electroluminescent
cells using high-voltage (500–1500 V) AC-driven (100–3000 Hz)
electrically insulated one millimetre thin layers of a melted phosphor
consisting of ground anthracene powder, tetracene, and graphite
powder. Their proposed mechanism involved electronic excitation at
the contacts between the graphite particles and the anthracene
Roger Partridge made the first observation of electroluminescence from
polymer films at the National Physical Laboratory in the United
Kingdom. The device consisted of a film of poly(N-vinylcarbazole) up
to 2.2 micrometers thick located between two charge injecting
electrodes. The results of the project were patented in 1975 and
published in 1983.
The first practical OLEDs
American physical chemist
Ching W. Tang and
Steven Van Slyke
Steven Van Slyke at
Eastman Kodak built the first practical
OLED device in 1987. This
device used a two-layer structure with separate hole transporting and
electron transporting layers such that recombination and light
emission occurred in the middle of the organic layer; this resulted in
a reduction in operating voltage and improvements in efficiency.
Research into polymer electroluminescence culminated in 1990 with J.
H. Burroughes et al. at the
Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge
University, UK, reporting a high efficiency green light-emitting
polymer based device using 100 nm thick films of poly(p-phenylene
vinylene). Moving from molecular to macromolecular materials
solved the problems previously encountered with the long-term
stability of the organic films and enabled high-quality films to be
easily made. Subsequent research developed multilayer polymers and
the new field of plastic electronics and
OLED research and device
production grew rapidly.
Universal Display Corporation
Universal Display Corporation a developer and manufacturer based in
the United States holds the majority of patents concerning the
commercialization of OLEDs.
Schematic of a bilayer OLED: 1.
Cathode (−), 2. Emissive Layer, 3.
Emission of radiation, 4. Conductive Layer, 5.
OLED is composed of a layer of organic materials situated
between two electrodes, the anode and cathode, all deposited on a
substrate. The organic molecules are electrically conductive as a
result of delocalization of pi electrons caused by conjugation over
part or all of the molecule. These materials have conductivity levels
ranging from insulators to conductors, and are therefore considered
organic semiconductors. The highest occupied and lowest unoccupied
molecular orbitals (HOMO and LUMO) of organic semiconductors are
analogous to the valence and conduction bands of inorganic
Originally, the most basic polymer OLEDs consisted of a single organic
layer. One example was the first light-emitting device synthesised by
J. H. Burroughes et al., which involved a single layer of
poly(p-phenylene vinylene). However multilayer OLEDs can be fabricated
with two or more layers in order to improve device efficiency. As well
as conductive properties, different materials may be chosen to aid
charge injection at electrodes by providing a more gradual electronic
profile, or block a charge from reaching the opposite electrode
and being wasted. Many modern OLEDs incorporate a simple bilayer
structure, consisting of a conductive layer and an emissive layer.
More recent developments in
OLED architecture improves quantum
efficiency (up to 19%) by using a graded heterojunction. In the
graded heterojunction architecture, the composition of hole and
electron-transport materials varies continuously within the emissive
layer with a dopant emitter. The graded heterojunction architecture
combines the benefits of both conventional architectures by improving
charge injection while simultaneously balancing charge transport
within the emissive region.
During operation, a voltage is applied across the
OLED such that the
anode is positive with respect to the cathode. Anodes are picked based
upon the quality of their optical transparency, electrical
conductivity, and chemical stability. A current of electrons flows
through the device from cathode to anode, as electrons are injected
into the LUMO of the organic layer at the cathode and withdrawn from
the HOMO at the anode. This latter process may also be described as
the injection of electron holes into the HOMO. Electrostatic forces
bring the electrons and the holes towards each other and they
recombine forming an exciton, a bound state of the electron and hole.
This happens closer to the emissive layer, because in organic
semiconductors holes are generally more mobile than electrons. The
decay of this excited state results in a relaxation of the energy
levels of the electron, accompanied by emission of radiation whose
frequency is in the visible region. The frequency of this radiation
depends on the band gap of the material, in this case the difference
in energy between the HOMO and LUMO.
As electrons and holes are fermions with half integer spin, an exciton
may either be in a singlet state or a triplet state depending on how
the spins of the electron and hole have been combined. Statistically
three triplet excitons will be formed for each singlet exciton. Decay
from triplet states (phosphorescence) is spin forbidden, increasing
the timescale of the transition and limiting the internal efficiency
of fluorescent devices. Phosphorescent organic light-emitting diodes
make use of spin–orbit interactions to facilitate intersystem
crossing between singlet and triplet states, thus obtaining emission
from both singlet and triplet states and improving the internal
Indium tin oxide
Indium tin oxide (ITO) is commonly used as the anode material. It is
transparent to visible light and has a high work function which
promotes injection of holes into the HOMO level of the organic layer.
A typical conductive layer may consist of PEDOT:PSS as the HOMO
level of this material generally lies between the work function of ITO
and the HOMO of other commonly used polymers, reducing the energy
barriers for hole injection. Metals such as barium and calcium are
often used for the cathode as they have low work functions which
promote injection of electrons into the LUMO of the organic layer.
Such metals are reactive, so they require a capping layer of aluminium
to avoid degradation.
Experimental research has proven that the properties of the anode,
specifically the anode/hole transport layer (HTL) interface topography
plays a major role in the efficiency, performance, and lifetime of
organic light emitting diodes. Imperfections in the surface of the
anode decrease anode-organic film interface adhesion, increase
electrical resistance, and allow for more frequent formation of
non-emissive dark spots in the
OLED material adversely affecting
lifetime. Mechanisms to decrease anode roughness for ITO/glass
substrates include the use of thin films and self-assembled
monolayers. Also, alternative substrates and anode materials are being
considered to increase
OLED performance and lifetime. Possible
examples include single crystal sapphire substrates treated with gold
(Au) film anodes yielding lower work functions, operating voltages,
electrical resistance values, and increasing lifetime of OLEDs.
Single carrier devices are typically used to study the kinetics and
charge transport mechanisms of an organic material and can be useful
when trying to study energy transfer processes. As current through the
device is composed of only one type of charge carrier, either
electrons or holes, recombination does not occur and no light is
emitted. For example, electron only devices can be obtained by
replacing ITO with a lower work function metal which increases the
energy barrier of hole injection. Similarly, hole only devices can be
made by using a cathode made solely of aluminium, resulting in an
energy barrier too large for efficient electron injection.
Balanced charge injection and transfer are required to get high
internal efficiency, pure emission of luminance layer without
contaminated emission from charge transporting layers, and high
stability. A common way to balance charge is optimizing the thickness
of the charge transporting layers but is hard to control. Another way
is using the exciplex. Exciplex formed between hole-transporting
(p-type) and electron-transporting (n-type) side chains to localize
electron-hole pairs. Energy is then transferred to luminophore and
provide high efficiency. An example of using exciplex is grafting
Oxadiazole and carbazole side units in red diketopyrrolopyrrole-doped
Copolymer main chain shows improved external quantum efficiency and
color purity in no optimized OLED.
Alq3, commonly used in small molecule OLEDs
Efficient OLEDs using small molecules were first developed by Ching W.
Tang et al. at Eastman Kodak. The term
OLED traditionally refers
specifically to this type of device, though the term SM-
OLED is also
Molecules commonly used in OLEDs include organometallic chelates (for
example Alq3, used in the organic light-emitting device reported by
Tang et al.), fluorescent and phosphorescent dyes and conjugated
dendrimers. A number of materials are used for their charge transport
properties, for example triphenylamine and derivatives are commonly
used as materials for hole transport layers. Fluorescent dyes can
be chosen to obtain light emission at different wavelengths, and
compounds such as perylene, rubrene and quinacridone derivatives are
often used. Alq3 has been used as a green emitter, electron
transport material and as a host for yellow and red emitting dyes.
The production of small molecule devices and displays usually involves
thermal evaporation in a vacuum. This makes the production process
more expensive and of limited use for large-area devices, than other
processing techniques. However, contrary to polymer-based devices, the
vacuum deposition process enables the formation of well controlled,
homogeneous films, and the construction of very complex multi-layer
structures. This high flexibility in layer design, enabling distinct
charge transport and charge blocking layers to be formed, is the main
reason for the high efficiencies of the small molecule OLEDs.
Coherent emission from a laser dye-doped tandem SM-
excited in the pulsed regime, has been demonstrated. The emission
is nearly diffraction limited with a spectral width similar to that of
broadband dye lasers.
Researchers report luminescence from a single polymer molecule,
representing the smallest possible organic light-emitting diode (OLED)
device. Scientists will be able to optimize substances to produce
more powerful light emissions. Finally, this work is a first step
towards making molecule-sized components that combine electronic and
optical properties. Similar components could form the basis of a
Polymer light-emitting diodes
poly(p-phenylene vinylene), used in the first PLED
Polymer light-emitting diodes (PLED, P-OLED), also light-emitting
polymers (LEP), involve an electroluminescent conductive polymer that
emits light when connected to an external voltage. They are used as a
thin film for full-spectrum colour displays.
Polymer OLEDs are quite
efficient and require a relatively small amount of power for the
amount of light produced.
Vacuum deposition is not a suitable method for forming thin films of
polymers. However, polymers can be processed in solution, and spin
coating is a common method of depositing thin polymer films. This
method is more suited to forming large-area films than thermal
evaporation. No vacuum is required, and the emissive materials can
also be applied on the substrate by a technique derived from
commercial inkjet printing. However, as the application of
subsequent layers tends to dissolve those already present, formation
of multilayer structures is difficult with these methods. The metal
cathode may still need to be deposited by thermal evaporation in
vacuum. An alternative method to vacuum deposition is to deposit a
Typical polymers used in pleaded displays include derivatives of
poly(p-phenylene vinylene) and polyfluorene. Substitution of side
chains onto the polymer backbone may determine the colour of emitted
light or the stability and solubility of the polymer for
performance and ease of processing. While unsubstituted
poly(p-phenylene vinylene) (PPV) is typically insoluble, a number of
PPVs and related poly(naphthalene vinylene)s (PNVs) that are soluble
in organic solvents or water have been prepared via ring opening
metathesis polymerization. These water-soluble polymers or
conjugated poly electrolytes (CPEs) also can be used as hole injection
layers alone or in combination with nanoparticles like graphene.
Ir(mppy)3, a phosphorescent dopant which emits green light.
Main article: Phosphorescent organic light-emitting diode
Phosphorescent organic light emitting diodes use the principle of
electrophosphorescence to convert electrical energy in an
light in a highly efficient manner, with the internal quantum
efficiencies of such devices approaching 100%.
Typically, a polymer such as poly(N-vinylcarbazole) is used as a host
material to which an organometallic complex is added as a dopant.
Iridium complexes such as Ir(mppy)3 are currently the focus of
research, although complexes based on other heavy metals such as
platinum have also been used.
The heavy metal atom at the centre of these complexes exhibits strong
spin-orbit coupling, facilitating intersystem crossing between singlet
and triplet states. By using these phosphorescent materials, both
singlet and triplet excitons will be able to decay radiatively, hence
improving the internal quantum efficiency of the device compared to a
OLED where only the singlet states will contribute to
emission of light.
Applications of OLEDs in solid state lighting require the achievement
of high brightness with good CIE coordinates (for white emission). The
use of macromolecular species like polyhedral oligomeric
silsesquioxanes (POSS) in conjunction with the use of phosphorescent
species such as Ir for printed OLEDs have exhibited brightnesses as
high as 10,000 cd/m2.
Bottom or top emission
Bottom or top distinction refers not to orientation of the OLED
display, but to the direction that emitted light exits the device.
OLED devices are classified as bottom emission devices if light
emitted passes through the transparent or semi-transparent bottom
electrode and substrate on which the panel was manufactured. Top
emission devices are classified based on whether or not the light
emitted from the
OLED device exits through the lid that is added
following fabrication of the device. Top-emitting OLEDs are better
suited for active-matrix applications as they can be more easily
integrated with a non-transparent transistor backplane. The TFT array
attached to the bottom substrate on which AMOLEDs are manufactured are
typically non-transparent, resulting in considerable blockage of
transmitted light if the device followed a bottom emitting scheme.
Transparent OLEDs use transparent or semi-transparent contacts on both
sides of the device to create displays that can be made to be both top
and bottom emitting (transparent). TOLEDs can greatly improve
contrast, making it much easier to view displays in bright
sunlight. This technology can be used in Head-up displays, smart
windows or augmented reality applications.
Graded heterojunction OLEDs gradually decrease the ratio of electron
holes to electron transporting chemicals. This results in almost
double the quantum efficiency of existing OLEDs.
Stacked OLEDs use a pixel architecture that stacks the red, green, and
blue subpixels on top of one another instead of next to one another,
leading to substantial increase in gamut and color depth, and
greatly reducing pixel gap. Currently, other display technologies have
the RGB (and RGBW) pixels mapped next to each other decreasing
In contrast to a conventional OLED, in which the anode is placed on
the substrate, an Inverted
OLED uses a bottom cathode that can be
connected to the drain end of an n-channel TFT especially for the low
cost amorphous silicon TFT backplane useful in the manufacturing of
Patternable organic light-emitting devices use a light or heat
activated electroactive layer. A latent material (PEDOT-TMA) is
included in this layer that, upon activation, becomes highly efficient
as a hole injection layer. Using this process, light-emitting devices
with arbitrary patterns can be prepared.
Colour patterning can be accomplished by means of laser, such as
radiation-induced sublimation transfer (RIST).
Organic vapour jet printing (OVJP) uses an inert carrier gas, such as
argon or nitrogen, to transport evaporated organic molecules (as in
organic vapour phase deposition). The gas is expelled through a
micrometre-sized nozzle or nozzle array close to the substrate as it
is being translated. This allows printing arbitrary multilayer
patterns without the use of solvents.
OLED displays are formed by vapor thermal evaporation
(VTE) and are patterned by shadow-mask. A mechanical mask has openings
allowing the vapor to pass only on the desired location.
Like ink jet material depositioning, inkjet etching (IJE) deposits
precise amounts of solvent onto a substrate designed to selectively
dissolve the substrate material and induce a structure or pattern.
Inkjet etching of polymer layers in OLED's can be used to increase the
overall out-coupling efficiency. In OLEDs, light produced from the
emissive layers of the
OLED is partially transmitted out of the device
and partially trapped inside the device by total internal reflection
(TIR). This trapped light is wave-guided along the interior of the
device until it reaches an edge where it is dissipated by either
absorption or emission. Inkjet etching can be used to selectively
alter the polymeric layers of
OLED structures to decrease overall TIR
and increase out-coupling efficiency of the OLED. Compared to a
non-etched polymer layer, the structured polymer layer in the OLED
structure from the IJE process helps to decrease the TIR of the OLED
device. IJE solvents are commonly organic instead of water based due
to their non-acidic nature and ability to effectively dissolve
materials at temperatures under the boiling point of water.
For a high resolution display like a TV, a TFT backplane is necessary
to drive the pixels correctly. Currently, low temperature
polycrystalline silicon (LTPS) – thin-film transistor (TFT) is
used for commercial
AMOLED displays. LTPS-TFT has variation of the
performance in a display, so various compensation circuits have been
reported. Due to the size limitation of the excimer laser used for
AMOLED size was limited. To cope with the hurdle related to
the panel size, amorphous-silicon/microcrystalline-silicon backplanes
have been reported with large display prototype demonstrations.
Transfer-printing is an emerging technology to assemble large numbers
AMOLED devices efficiently. It takes advantage of
standard metal deposition, photolithography, and etching to create
alignment marks commonly on glass or other device substrates. Thin
polymer adhesive layers are applied to enhance resistance to particles
and surface defects. Microscale ICs are transfer-printed onto the
adhesive surface and then baked to fully cure adhesive layers. An
additional photosensitive polymer layer is applied to the substrate to
account for the topography caused by the printed ICs, reintroducing a
Photolithography and etching removes some polymer layers
to uncover conductive pads on the ICs. Afterwards, the anode layer is
applied to the device backplane to form bottom electrode.
are applied to the anode layer with conventional vapor deposition, and
covered with a conductive metal electrode layer. As of 2011[update]
transfer-printing was capable to print onto target substrates up to
500mm X 400mm. This size limit needs to expand for transfer-printing
to become a common process for the fabrication of large OLED/AMOLED
Further information: Comparison of CRT, LCD, Plasma, and OLED
Demonstration of a 4.1" prototype flexible display from Sony
The different manufacturing process of OLEDs lends itself to several
advantages over flat panel displays made with LCD technology.
Lower cost in the future
OLEDs can be printed onto any suitable substrate by an inkjet printer
or even by screen printing, theoretically making them cheaper to
produce than LCD or plasma displays. However, fabrication of the OLED
substrate is currently more costly than that of a TFT LCD.
Roll-to-roll vapor-deposition methods for organic devices do allow
mass production of thousands of devices per minute for minimal cost;
however, this technique also induces problems: devices with multiple
layers can be challenging to make because of registration - lining up
the different printed layers to the required degree of accuracy.
Lightweight and flexible plastic substrates
OLED displays can be fabricated on flexible plastic substrates,
leading to the possible fabrication of flexible organic light-emitting
diodes for other new applications, such as roll-up displays embedded
in fabrics or clothing. If a substrate like polyethylene terephthalate
(PET) can be used, the displays may be produced inexpensively.
Furthermore, plastic substrates are shatter-resistant, unlike the
glass displays used in LCD devices.
Better picture quality
OLEDs enable a greater contrast ratio and wider viewing angle compared
to LCDs, because
OLED pixels emit light directly. This also provides a
deeper black level, since a black O
LED display emits no light.
OLED pixel colors appear correct and unshifted, even as
the viewing angle approaches 90° from the normal.
Better power efficiency and thickness
LCDs filter the light emitted from a backlight, allowing a small
fraction of light through. Thus, they cannot show true black. However,
OLED element does not produce light or consume power,
allowing true blacks. Removing the backlight also makes OLEDs
lighter because some substrates are not needed. When looking at
top-emitting OLEDs, thickness also plays a role when talking about
index match layers (IMLs). Emission intensity is enhanced when the IML
thickness is 1.3–2.5 nm. The refractive value and the matching
of the optical IMLs property, including the device structure
parameters, also enhance the emission intensity at these
OLEDs also have a much faster response time than an LCD. Using
response time compensation technologies, the fastest modern LCDs can
reach response times as low as 1 ms for their fastest color
transition, and are capable of refresh frequencies as high as
240 Hz. According to LG,
OLED response times are up to 1,000
times faster than LCD, putting conservative estimates at under 10
μs (0.01 ms), which could theoretically accommodate refresh
frequencies approaching 100 kHz (100,000 Hz). Due to their
extremely fast response time,
OLED displays can also be easily
designed to be strobed, creating an effect similar to CRT flicker in
order to avoid the sample-and-hold behavior seen on both LCDs and some
OLED displays, which creates the perception of motion blur.
LEP (light emitting polymer) display showing partial failure
An old O
LED display showing wear
The biggest technical problem for OLEDs was the limited lifetime of
the organic materials. One 2008 technical report on an
OLED TV panel
found that "After 1,000 hours the blue luminance degraded by 12%, the
red by 7% and the green by 8%." In particular, blue OLEDs
historically have had a lifetime of around 14,000 hours to half
original brightness (five years at 8 hours a day) when used for
flat-panel displays. This is lower than the typical lifetime of LCD,
LED or PDP technology. Each currently is rated for about
25,000–40,000 hours to half brightness, depending on manufacturer
and model. Degradation occurs because of the accumulation of
nonradiative recombination centers and luminescence quenchers in the
emissive zone. It is said that the chemical breakdown in the
semiconductors occurs in four steps: 1) recombination of charge
carriers through the absorption of UV light, 2) homolytic
dissociation, 3) subsequent radical addition reactions that form π
radicals, and 4) disproportionation between two radicals resulting in
hydrogen-atom transfer reactions. However, some manufacturers'
displays aim to increase the lifespan of
OLED displays, pushing their
expected life past that of LCD displays by improving light
outcoupling, thus achieving the same brightness at a lower drive
current. In 2007, experimental OLEDs were created which can
sustain 400 cd/m2 of luminance for over 198,000 hours for green
OLEDs and 62,000 hours for blue OLEDs.
Additionally, as the
OLED material used to produce blue light degrades
significantly more rapidly than the materials that produce other
colors, blue light output will decrease relative to the other colors
of light. This variation in the differential color output will change
the color balance of the display and is much more noticeable than a
decrease in overall luminance. This can be avoided partially by
adjusting color balance, but this may require advanced control
circuits and interaction with the user, which is unacceptable for
users. More commonly, though, manufacturers optimize the size of the
R, G and B subpixels to reduce the current density through the
subpixel in order to equalize lifetime at full luminance. For example,
a blue subpixel may be 100% larger than the green subpixel. The red
subpixel may be 10% smaller than the green.
Efficiency of blue OLEDs
Improvements to the efficiency and lifetime of blue OLEDs is vital to
the success of OLEDs as replacements for LCD technology. Considerable
research has been invested in developing blue OLEDs with high external
quantum efficiency as well as a deeper blue color.
External quantum efficiency values of 20% and 19% have been reported
for red (625 nm) and green (530 nm) diodes,
respectively. However, blue diodes (430 nm) have only
been able to achieve maximum external quantum efficiencies in the
range of 4% to 6%.
Water can instantly damage the organic materials of the displays.
Therefore, improved sealing processes are important for practical
manufacturing. Water damage especially may limit the longevity of more
As an emissive display technology, OLEDs rely completely upon
converting electricity to light, unlike most LCDs which are to some
extent reflective. E-paper leads the way in efficiency with ~ 33%
ambient light reflectivity, enabling the display to be used without
any internal light source. The metallic cathode in an
OLED acts as a
mirror, with reflectance approaching 80%, leading to poor readability
in bright ambient light such as outdoors. However, with the proper
application of a circular polarizer and antireflective coatings, the
diffuse reflectance can be reduced to less than 0.1%. With 10,000 fc
incident illumination (typical test condition for simulating outdoor
illumination), that yields an approximate photopic contrast of 5:1.
Recent advances in
OLED technologies, however, enable OLEDs to become
actually better than LCDs in bright sunlight. The Super
in the Galaxy S5, for example, was found to outperform all LCD
displays on the market in terms of brightness and reflectance.
OLED will consume around 40% of the power of an LCD
displaying an image that is primarily black, for the majority of
images it will consume 60–80% of the power of an LCD. However, an
OLED can use more than three times as much power to display an image
with a white background, such as a document or web site. This can
lead to reduced battery life in mobile devices, when white backgrounds
Manufacturers and commercial uses
Magnified image of the
AMOLED screen on the
Google Nexus One
smartphone using the RGBG system of the PenTile Matrix Family.
A 3.8 cm (1.5 in) O
LED display from a Creative
ZEN V media
OLED lighting in a shopping mall in Aachen, Germany
OLED technology is used in commercial applications such as displays
for mobile phones and portable digital media players, car radios and
digital cameras among others, as well as lighting. Such portable
display applications favor the high light output of OLEDs for
readability in sunlight and their low power drain. Portable displays
are also used intermittently, so the lower lifespan of organic
displays is less of an issue. Prototypes have been made of flexible
and rollable displays which use OLEDs' unique characteristics.
Applications in flexible signs and lighting are also being
OLED lighting offers several advantages over LED
lighting, such as higher quality illumination, more diffuse light
source, and panel shapes.
Philips Lighting have made
samples under the brand name "Lumiblade" available online and
Novaled AG based in Dresden, Germany, introduced a line of
lamps called "Victory" in September, 2011.
OLED mobile phones including the N85 and the N86 8MP,
both of which feature an
AMOLED display. OLEDs have also been used in
Samsung color cell phones, as well as some HTC, LG
Sony Ericsson models.
OLED technology can also be found in
digital media players such as the Creative ZEN V, the iriver clix, the
Zune HD and the
Sony Walkman X Series.
Google and HTC
Nexus One smartphone includes an
AMOLED screen, as
does HTC's own Desire and Legend phones. However, due to supply
shortages of the Samsung-produced displays, certain HTC models will
use Sony's SLCD displays in the future, while the
Nexus S smartphone will use "Super Clear LCD" instead in some
OLED displays were used in watches made by Fossil (JR-9465) and Diesel
Other manufacturers of
OLED panels include Anwell Technologies Limited
AU Optronics (Taiwan), Chimei Innolux Corporation
(Taiwan), LG (Korea), and others.
Shearwater Research introduced the Predator as the first
OLED diving computer available with a user replaceable
DuPont stated in a press release in May 2010 that they can produce a
OLED TV in two minutes with a new printing technology. If this
can be scaled up in terms of manufacturing, then the total cost of
OLED TVs would be greatly reduced.
DuPont also states that
made with this less expensive technology can last up to 15 years if
left on for a normal eight-hour day.
The use of OLEDs may be subject to patents held by Universal Display
Corporation, Eastman Kodak, DuPont, General Electric, Royal Philips
Electronics, numerous universities and others. There are by now
thousands of patents associated with OLEDs, both from larger
corporations and smaller technology companies.
BlackBerry Limited, the maker of
BlackBerry smartphones, uses OLED
displays in their
BlackBerry 10 devices.
OLED displays are already being produced and these are used
by manufacturers to create curved displays such as the Galaxy S7 Edge
but so far there they are not in devices that can be flexed by the
consumer. Apart from the screen itself the circuit boards and
batteries would need to be flexible.
Samsung demonstrated a
roll-out display in 2016.
Textiles incorporating OLEDs are an innovation in the fashion world
and pose for a way to integrate lighting to bring inert objects to a
whole new level of fashion. The hope is to combine the comfort and low
cost properties of textile with the OLEDs properties of illumination
and low energy consumption. Although this scenario of illuminated
clothing is highly plausible, challenges are still a road block. Some
issues include: the lifetime of the OLED, rigidness of flexible foil
substrates, and the lack of research in making more fabric like
By 2004 Samsung, South Korea's largest conglomerate, was the world's
OLED manufacturer, producing 40% of the
OLED displays made in
the world, and as of 2010 has a 98% share of the global AMOLED
market. The company is leading the world of
generating $100.2 million out of the total $475 million revenues in
OLED market in 2006. As of 2006, it held more than 600
American patents and more than 2800 international patents, making it
the largest owner of
AMOLED technology patents.
Samsung SDI announced in 2005 the world's largest
OLED TV at the time,
at 21 inches (53 cm). This
OLED featured the highest
resolution at the time, of 6.22 million pixels. In addition, the
company adopted active matrix based technology for its low power
consumption and high-resolution qualities. This was exceeded in
January 2008, when
Samsung showcased the world's largest and thinnest
OLED TV at the time, at 31 inches (78 cm) and
In May 2008,
Samsung unveiled an ultra-thin 12.1 inch
(30 cm) laptop O
LED display concept, with a 1,280×768 resolution
with infinite contrast ratio. According to Woo Jong Lee, Vice
President of the Mobile Display Marketing Team at
Samsung SDI, the
OLED displays to be used in notebook PCs as soon as
In October 2008,
Samsung showcased the world's thinnest
also the first to be "flappable" and bendable. It measures just
0.05 mm (thinner than paper), yet a
Samsung staff member said
that it is "technically possible to make the panel thinner". To
achieve this thickness,
Samsung etched an
OLED panel that uses a
normal glass substrate. The drive circuit was formed by
low-temperature polysilicon TFTs. Also, low-molecular organic EL
materials were employed. The pixel count of the display is 480 × 272.
The contrast ratio is 100,000:1, and the luminance is 200 cd/m2.
The colour reproduction range is 100% of the NTSC standard.
In the same month,
Samsung unveiled what was then the world's largest
OLED Television at 40-inch with a
Full HD resolution of 1920 × 1080
pixels. In the FPD International,
Samsung stated that its 40-inch
OLED Panel is the largest size currently possible. The panel has a
contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1, a colour gamut of 107% NTSC, and a
luminance of 200 cd/m2 (peak luminance of 600 cd/m2).
Consumer Electronics Show
Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January 2010, Samsung
demonstrated a laptop computer with a large, transparent
featuring up to 40% transparency and an animated O
LED display in
a photo ID card.
AMOLED smartphones use their Super
Samsung Wave S8500 and
Samsung i9000 Galaxy S being launched
in June 2010. In January 2011
Samsung announced their Super AMOLED
Plus displays, which offer several advances over the older Super
AMOLED displays: real stripe matrix (50% more sub pixels), thinner
form factor, brighter image and an 18% reduction in energy
At CES 2012,
Samsung introduced the first 55" TV screen that uses
On January 8, 2013, at CES
Samsung unveiled a unique curved 4K Ultra
OLED television, which they state provides an "IMAX-like
experience" for viewers.
On August 13, 2013,
Samsung announced availability of a 55-inch curved
OLED TV (model KN55S9C) in the US at a price point of $8999.99.
On September 6, 2013,
Samsung launched its 55-inch curved
(model KE55S9C) in the United Kingdom with John Lewis.
Samsung introduced the Galaxy Round smartphone in the Korean market in
October 2013. The device features a 1080p screen, measuring 5.7 inches
(14 cm), that curves on the vertical axis in a rounded case. The
corporation has promoted the following advantages: A new feature
called "Round Interaction" that allows users to look at information by
tilting the handset on a flat surface with the screen off, and the
feel of one continuous transition when the user switches between home
Sony XEL-1, the world's first
OLED TV. (front)
Sony CLIÉ PEG-VZ90 was released in 2004, being the first PDA to
OLED screen. Other
Sony products to feature OLED
screens include the MZ-RH1 portable minidisc recorder, released in
2006 and the Walkman X Series.
At the 2007 Las Vegas
Consumer Electronics Show
Consumer Electronics Show (CES),
11-inch (28 cm, resolution 960×540) and 27-inch (68.5 cm),
full HD resolution at 1920 × 1080
OLED TV models. Both claimed
1,000,000:1 contrast ratios and total thicknesses (including bezels)
of 5 mm. In April 2007,
Sony announced it would manufacture 1000
11-inch (28 cm)
OLED TVs per month for market testing
purposes. On October 1, 2007,
Sony announced that the 11-inch
(28 cm) model, now called the XEL-1, would be released
commercially; the XEL-1 was first released in Japan in December
In May 2007,
Sony publicly unveiled a video of a 2.5-inch flexible
OLED screen which is only 0.3 millimeters thick. At the Display
Sony demonstrated a 0.2 mm thick 3.5 inch
(9 cm) display with a resolution of 320×200 pixels and a
0.3 mm thick 11 inch (28 cm) display with 960×540
pixels resolution, one-tenth the thickness of the XEL-1.
In July 2008, a Japanese government body said it would fund a joint
project of leading firms, which is to develop a key technology to
produce large, energy-saving organic displays. The project involves
one laboratory and 10 companies including
Sony Corp. NEDO said the
project was aimed at developing a core technology to mass-produce
40 inch or larger
OLED displays in the late 2010s.
In October 2008,
Sony published results of research it carried out
Max Planck Institute over the possibility of mass-market
bending displays, which could replace rigid LCDs and plasma screens.
Eventually, bendable, see-through displays could be stacked to produce
3D images with much greater contrast ratios and viewing angles than
Sony exhibited a 24.5" (62 cm) prototype
OLED 3D television
Consumer Electronics Show
Consumer Electronics Show in January 2010.
In January 2011,
Sony announced the
PlayStation Vita handheld game
console (the successor to the PSP) will feature a 5-inch OLED
On February 17, 2011,
Sony announced its 25" (63.5 cm) OLED
Professional Reference Monitor aimed at the Cinema and high end Drama
Post Production market.
On June 25, 2012,
Sony and Panasonic announced a joint venture for
creating low cost mass production
OLED televisions by 2013.
As of 2010,
LG Electronics produced one model of
OLED television, the
15 inch 15EL9500 and had announced a 31" (78 cm) OLED
3D television for March 2011. On December 26, 2011, LG officially
announced the "world's largest 55"
OLED panel" and featured it at CES
2012. In late 2012, LG announces the launch of the 55EM9600 OLED
television in Australia.
In January 2015, LG Display signed a long term agreement with
Universal Display Corporation
Universal Display Corporation for the supply of
OLED materials and the
right to use their patented
By 2017 brands using LG
OLED panels include Panasonic, Sony, Toshiba,
Philips and Loewe.
Lumiotec is the first company in the world developing and selling,
since January 2011, mass-produced
OLED lighting panels with such
brightness and long lifetime. Lumiotec is a joint venture of
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, ROHM, Toppan Printing, and Mitsui &
Co. On June 1, 2011,
Mitsubishi installed a 6-meter
OLED 'sphere' in
Tokyo's Science Museum.
Recom Group/video name tag applications
On January 6, 2011, Los Angeles based technology company Recom Group
introduced the first small screen consumer application of the
Consumer Electronics Show
Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. This was a 2.8"
(7 cm) O
LED display being used as a wearable video name tag.
Consumer Electronics Show
Consumer Electronics Show in 2012, Recom Group introduced the
world's first video mic flag incorporating three 2.8" (7 cm) OLED
displays on a standard broadcaster's mic flag. The video mic flag
allowed video content and advertising to be shown on a broadcasters
standard mic flag.
Yet the number of automakers using OLEDs is still rare and limited to
the high-end of the market. For example, the 2010
Lexus RX features an
LED display instead of a thin film transistor (TFT-LCD) display.
The Aston Martin DB9 incorporated the first automotive application of
OLED display, namely PMOLED, then followed by 2004-on Jeep Grand
Cherokee and Chevrolet Corvette C6.
Japanese manufacturer Pioneer Electronics produced first car stereos
Hyundai Sonata and
Kia Soul EV uses a 3.5" white PMOLED
BMW plans to use OLEDs in tail lights and interior lights in their
future cars; however, OLEDs are currently too dim to be used for brake
lights, headlights and indicators.
On January 6, 2016, Dell announced the Ultrasharp UP3017Q
Consumer Electronics Show
Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The monitor was
announced to feature a 30" 4K UHD
OLED panel with a 120 Hz
refresh rate, 0.1 millisecond response time, and a contrast ratio of
400,000:1.The monitor was set to sell at a price of $4,999 and release
in March, 2016, just a few months later. As the end of March rolled
around, the monitor was not released to the market and Dell did not
speak on reasons for the delay. Reports suggested that Dell canceled
the monitor as the company was unhappy with the image quality of the
OLED panel, especially the amount of color drift that it displayed
when you viewed the monitor from the sides. On April 13, 2017,
Dell finally released the UP3017Q
OLED monitor to the market at a
price of $3,499 ($1,500 less than its original spoken price of $4,999
at CES 2016). In addition to the price drop, the monitor featured a
60 Hz refresh rate and a contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1. As of
June, 2017, the monitor is no longer available to purchase from Dell's
Apple began using
OLED panels in its watches in 2015 and in its
laptops in 2016 with the introduction of an
OLED touchbar to the
MacBook Pro. In 2017, Apple announced the introduction of their
tenth anniversary iPhone X with their own optimized
licensed from Universal Display Corporation.
Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation (MCC), a subsidiary of the
Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings developed an
OLED panel with a life of
30,000 hours, twice that of conventional
The search for efficient
OLED materials has been extensively supported
by simulation methods. By now it is possible to calculate important
properties completely computationally, independent of experimental
input. This allows cost-efficient pre-screening of
materials, prior to expensive synthesis and experimental
Comparison of display technology
Field emission display
List of emerging technologies
Organic light-emitting transistor
Quantum dot display
Surface-conduction electron-emitter display
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