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OLED is an emerging display and lighting technology that enables beautiful and efficient displays and lighting panels. Thin OLEDs are already being used in many mobile devices and TVs. P-OLEDs (or Polymer-OLEDs, sometimes called PLED too) are OLED devices made from polymer (large-molecules) materials.

CDT 14'' OLED prototype novemeber 200514-inch P-OLED prototype by CDT

P-OLEDs vs SM-OLEDs

Basically you can make OLEDs from two kinds of materials: small-molecule (SM-OLED) or large-molecules, or polymers. Virtually all OLED displays on the market toady are using Small Molecules, and are produced using evaporation processes.



P-OLED materials do not perform as good as SM-OLEDs in terms of lifetime and efficiency, but are easily soluble and so can be easily adapted for printing and other solution-based processes. In the past some believed that the soluble nature of P-OLEDs mean that these materials will be the future of OLED displays, but that has not been the case yet. There has been great progress in evaporation processes and materials - and also in soluble SM-OLEDs.

Cambridge Display Technology

UK-based Cambridge Display Technology (CDT) is the company that holds the basic patents for P-OLED technologies. The company licensed its technology to several companies, including Philips, Seiko Epson, Osram, Dupont and Delta Optoelectronics, but it does not seem as it anyone is pursuing P-OLEDs at the moment besides Sumitomo Chemicals (which owns CDT).

Sumitomo and CDT are still developing P-OLED materials and panels.

JOLED's P-OLED plans

JOLED (Japan OLED) was established in August 2014 by Japan Display, Sony and Panasonic with an aim to become an OLED medium display (10-30 inch) producer. JOLED is using a printing process which should result in lower cost production (but of lower performance displays) compared to evaporation printing.

JOLED is using P-OLED materials produced by Sumitomo (see above). The company plans to start mass production OLED displays in 2019, although some early low-volume production may begin in 2017.

Panasonic's 2013 56" OLED TV prototypes

In January 2013 Panasonic unveiled a 56" 4K (3840x2160) OLED TV panel prototype that was produced using an all-printing method and P-OLED materials. Panasonic says that all the organic materials were deposited using ink-jet printing. The panel's TFT substrate was supplied by Sony (and actually made by AUO. It's an Oxide-TFT panel) as part of the two companies collaboration. The lifetime and efficiency of this TV was not disclosed.

Panasonic printed 56'' 4K OLED prototype

In December 2013 Sony and Panasonic announced that they are canceling the OLED TV JV. Panasonic is now producing OLED TVs - but these use WRGN OLED panels produced by LG Display.

PLEDs in the market

In the past, several PMOLED makers produced P-OLED based small-sized display modules, mostly alpha-numeric and single-color panels. As far as we know, these displays are not in production any more.

One Stop Display 20x4 Character PLEDP-OLED module by OSD

Further reading