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OLED (or AMOLED) screens are efficient, clean, thin and bright, and are becoming popular in mobile devices. We bring you daily news and resources on this exciting new technology!
Recent OLED news:
A new coffee shop opened in Korea called Marley Coffee (inspired by bob Marley's motto, "One Love"). They installed 15 OLED Butterfly Luminaries that use a total of 240 OLED panels - 53x55 mm panels produced by LG Chem.
Those OLED butterflies are connected to a motion detector, and they flicker when movement nearby is detected. LG Chem says that because the OLED panels have no glare, the flickering does not cause discomfort like in other types of lighting.
UBI Research estimates that the flexible OLED market will generate $1.8 billion in revenues in 2015, and will grow quickly at a 60% annual growth rate (CAGR) to reach $17.6 billion by 2020. The primary application driving this grwoth will be tablet pcs.
UBI also says that Samsung decided to change the encapsulation technology used in their upcoming A3 production line. In their current flexible OLED production, Samsung uses the old Vitex technology which is slow and expensive.
OTI Lumionics unveiled their first OLED lighting product, the Aerelight desk lamp. It uses a single OLED lighting panel and is relatively affordable at $239 (I said relatively!). OTI did not reveal the technical details - but they did say it offers a brightness of up to 1,000 lux at maximum brightness. The lamp will ship in early 2015.
OTI was established in 2011 by researchers and engineers from the University of Toronto, with an aim to develop OLED lighting technologies. The company developed new OLED materials (electrode materials and transparent conductors) and also a new production process aimed towards low-cost production. It's interesting to see a startup company trying to develop materials, process technology and applications all at the same time - so I talked to the company's CEO, Michael Helander, and he explained the company's technology and business goals.
DisplaySearch estimate that the plastic OLED display used in the Apple Watch costs more than $27 (this is the production cost, not the display price). They say it is difficult to know for sure as the cost is highly dependent on yield rates at LG Display's fab and they do not know it yet. They assume a 60% yield rate for the $27 estimation.
The $27 estimate includes the plastic AMOLED module, the touch panel interface and the cover glass (sapphire or glass, depends on the Watch model).
Consumer Reports says that OLED is the best display technology, as it combines the best features of plasmas and LCDs. They say that the emerging technology is "really going to shake up the television industry".
"What we like about OLED is that it delivers on the deep black levels and unlimited viewing angles that we've come to expect from the best plasmas," said Claudio Ciacci from Consumer Reports. "At the same time it delivers on the power efficiency, super-thin bezel design and also the bright picture that we've come to expect from LCD TVs."
The Nikkei Asian Review reports that Athene, a Japanese semiconductor technology maker, developed a new shadow mask (or Fine Metal Mask, FMM) specifically for high precision OLED production. The new mask is stronger and more durable than any other mask on the market, which means it can be used to make higher resolution OLEDs.
This new strong mask was achieved by adding nickel and iron materials to the standard metal mask. Athene's mask can withstand temperatures of up to 100 degrees Celsius without deformation, and the company says it can enable the production of OLED panels with pixel densities of over 500 PPI. Athene plans to setup a production line to make these new shadow masks and they will start delivering products to OLED makers in 2015.
Dr. Ching Tang and Steven Van Slyke are two OLED pioneers - in fact you can say that they invented OLEDs back in the late seventies when they worked for Eastman Kodak. The two wrote a seminal paper on OLEDs in 1976 that has been cited in more than 5,000 publications, and have been inducted to the CE hall of fame.
The two scientists have been named for this year's citation laureates by Thomson Reuters - which quite accurately forecast Nobel Prize winners (since they started listing scientists in 2002, they accurately forecast 35 Nobel Prize winners). It will be great to see those two esteemed inventors receive the Nobel Prize! The winners will be announced on October 8th.