A video tour of Philips' OLED lighting lab and products

Dezeen magazine visited Philips' Lumiblade Creative Lab and posted a nice story and video showing lot's of OLED installations, lamps and panels, including the interactive mirror, the LivingSculpture modular 3D system, structured OLEDs and the OLED automobile backlight prototype. My friend Dietmar Thomas (Philips OLED unit Communication Specialist) is hosting this video:

Philips is currently offering several OLED lighting panels (we reviewed a couple of them in November 2011). In February 2012 they released an OLED lighting roadmap, according to which we can expect transparent OLEDs in 2013 (the video above shows a prototype transparent panel), and flexible 1x1 meter OLEDs by 2018.

Will Samsung and LGD focus on 4K2K LCDs and delay OLED TVs to 2014?

DisplaySearch posted an interesting blog post, in which they say that both Samsung and LG Display have decided, due to technical difficulties with OLED TV production, to put more emphasis in high-definition TVs (4K2K, or UHD), and delay OLED TV production. DisplaySearch also says that most consumers will prefer a larger and cheaper LCD TV over a high-end, slim OLED TV.

Both Samsung and LGD first unveiled their stunning 55" OLED TVs in January 2012, but they haven't managed to actually launch these TVs yet. According to the post, the yield in Samsung's and LGD's AMOLED TV fabs is still in the single digits, and even after repairing panels, the yield will be less than 30%. In addition, frit encapsulation is too fragile for large area TV, and so the panel lifetime is reduced.

Will Applied Materials open a new R&D center in Taiwan with an OLED focus?

Yesterday a Taiwanese web site reported that Applied Materials is planning to setup a flat-panel R&D center in Southern Taiwan Science Park. The new center will focus on 8.5-Gen LCD production and OLED technologies. Applied hopes to assist AU Optronics and Innolux with their OLED projects. The investment in the center is expected to exceed NT$5 billion (over $170 million USD).

A few hours later, Digitimes posted that sources from Applied Materials denied these rumors - saying that the company has no such plans. Applied does have a manufacturing center in Taiwan that will continue providing solutions largely for Taiwan-based customers.

UDC and LG Display extend their PHOLED commercial supply agreement till October 2013

Universal Display announced that they have extended their commercial supply agreement with LG Display - till October 31, 2013 (this agreement will automatically renew for additional twelve month periods, unless terminated). LGD is using UDC's PHOLED materials in AMOLED displays, and pay them for the chemical sales and a license fee (LGD has some small scale small-panel production, but their main OLED focus is on large panels for TVs).

UDC signed the original agreement with LGD (then LG.Philips) back in May 2007. In August 2011 they signed a long-term agreement with Samsung, and they probably will sign a similar with LG Display too, but LGD will most likely wait till they mass produce OLED panels (for their 55" OLED TVs).

OSRAM develops O-LEC lighting panels as a low-cost mid-term wide-area luminaires

Back in April we posted about light-emitting electrochemical cells (LEC), a cheaper (but less efficient) flexible alternative to OLED lighting. Today we learned that OSRAM are also actively researching organic LECs (OLECs), and indeed they view them as a mid-term technology (until OLED catches on) for low-cost wide-area luminaires.

OSRAM already produced large (15x14 cm) LEC prototypes on an R&D setup at Augsburg. A conductive polymer layer is initially applied to the supporting plastic foil that was previously provided with a conductive, transparent layer. Following an infrared drying process the light-emitting layer is applied via the same procedure. Electrons from standard metals can then be vapour-deposited. Unlike LEDs and OLEDs the OLEC production process does not need any clean rooms.

OSRAM reports advances in transparent OLED development, to start production in 2014

OSRAM is presenting a new luminaire (called the Rollercoaster) that features transparent OLED panels. OSRAM says that they have made some significant advances and they now plan to start series-production of such panels in 2014. 

The Rollercoaster looks like a glass and metal sculpture when turned-off and has a mobius-form (and so looks like a rollercoaster). It has 30 rectangular OLED panels, each with an active area of 18x6.5 cm. The OLEDs feature an efficiency of 20 lm /W and a transparency of 57% (which they say is the highest yet for such large panels. Fraunhofer's TABOLA transparent panels, which we reviewed back in April feature 45% transparency).

Flexible OLEDs aren't available yet, unless you're the Queen of the Netherlands

The Holst Centre has fabricated two flexible OLED lighting panels and gave them to the Queen of the Netherlands (one will be given to the Slovakian president). The OLED panels are placed inside 3D-printed curved frames:

The OLED panels are lighting photos of the Queen's grandchildren and a couple of photos from her visit to Slovakia. The photos are black/white masks with resolution 20 micron which are placed on the top of the OLED panels. The Holst centre can actually create these images directly in the OLED (i.e. a structured OLED), but this time they just placed the mask in front of the OLED because of a tight schedule. I'm not sure if that's the most impressive flexible OLED demonstration I've seen, but it sure is a nice gift for the queen.

Japanese researchers create cheap, rare-metal free efficient OLED emitter materials

Update: Kyushu University published an interesting video with more details about this new technology

Researchers from Japan's Kyushu University developed new efficient rare-metal free OLED emitter materials based on dicyanobenzene derivatives. They say that these new materials (which they call hyperfluorescence) are as efficient as phosphorescent OLEDs, but are cheaper (about 1/10th of the cost) because they do not require rare metals.

The researchers say that they are now seeking to collaborate with Japanese makers to commercialize this technology "at an early date". They already created some display prototypes with the new materials (see photo above).

Sasmung Display to shift more investments from LCD to OLED

KoreaTimes reports that next year Samsung plans to shift more investment from LCD to OLED. According to the article, Samsung Display will invest around 6 trillion won (about $5.58 billion), out of which only 29% in LCDs, and the rest (almost $4 billion) in OLED. That's actually lower than the planned $6 billion OLED investment for 2012 (we're not sure how much was the actual investment in 2012 though).

Samsung will invest in both small/medium OLEDs and large ones (OLED TVs). The same reports suggests that Samsung will announce the Galaxy S4 during the Mobile World Congress in February 2013. They are also working on the Galaxy Note 3 - which will have a 6.3" OLED display. OLED TV sales however, are only expected during late 2013, which is not good news.

Samsung patents a dual-panel foldable display that uses smaller pixels at the junction

Samsung has been awarded a new US patent (#8,330,347) that describes a foldable display made from two display panels that has smaller (but brighter) pixels at the "junction" between them. This allows the space between the panels to be smaller and create a foldable display. Such a design requires a panel where each pixel brightness can be controlled, so LCD is out of the question, and the patent mentions OLED, FED, Plasma and EL displays as possible candidates.

The original Korean patent was filed in 2006, so this isn't new. We hope that Samsung will be able to come-up with truly flexible OLED displays that will not need those smaller display at the junction because there won't actually be a junction - it'll be one large display.