Sony's Super Top Emission technology explained

Update: according to some people, Sony's (and Panasonic's) new OLED prototypes actually use white OLEDs with color filters (WOLED-CF) and not RGB sub pixels with color filters. Hopefully I'll get more information on this soon...

During CES 2013, both Sony and Panasonic unveiled 56" 4K OLED TV panel prototypes. Both panels use Sony's Super Top Emission structure. Those panels used color filters, which caused some confusion, so I thought I'd explain Sony's technology.

Super Top Emission utilizes RGB OLED subpixels, a microcavity structure and color filters. Sony says that this simultaneously enhances color purity, attains higher contrast and achieves lower power consumption.

Listen to last week's Philips OLED lighting webinar

Last week our friend Dietmar Thomas (Philips Lumiblade's spokesperson) hosted a free Webinar (titled "Explore the world of OLED lighting") - updating on Philips' OLED lighting technologies and also answering questions. Philips now uploaded the webinar to the web, you can listen to it here and watch the slides:

Dietmar told us that there so many questions left unanswered, that they will setup a one hour Q&A session on twitter to follow up. It will take place on March 7th, 17.00h GMT+1. You can send your questions using Twitter, make sure to mark them with this hashtag: #OLEDT01

Will the upcoming Google/Motorola phone sport an unbreakable display?

During Google's financial results conference call, the company's CEO Larry Page discussed the opportunities in mobile phones. The company bought Motorola Mobility and is expected to release new phones with new technology soon. Page hinted at unbreakable phones ("when you drop your phone, it shouldn't go splat") and said that battery life is still a huge issue. Hopefully Motorola will indeed incorporate unbreakable plastic-based OLED panels in their upcoming device (some say it'll be called Google X).

Samsung 5'' curved YOUM display prototypeCurved YOUM prototype phone

Motorola already uses OLED panels in several of their mobile phones, including the relatively new RAZR i, RAZR HD and RAZR M. Most of these Motorola's OLED phone sport Super AMOLED Advanced displays, which are 25% more power efficient compared to other OLEDs (according to Motorola's marketing, anyway). This is probably due to the fact that Motorola's displays are one of the few Samsung OLEDs that use green phosphorescent emitters, and may be the reasoning behind Page's "battery life" comment.

LG Display talks OLED TV and flexible OLED production plans

LG Display reported their financial results for 4Q 2012, with $299 million in profit - thanks to mobile phones launches by key customers including Apple. LGD did warn though that the earnings will decrease in Q1 2013 as iPhone demand wanes.

The company also commented about their OLED TV production plans. LGD is planning to convert their Gen-8 fab from LCD to OLED TV production. They haven't decided how many of the fab lines will be converted, but the decision to convert some of the capacity did took place- which is good news.

BOE struggles with low AMOLED yields, looks for help from Taiwan

There are reports that BOE, who's facing serious AMOLED production issues (especially on large OLED TV panels) with very low yields has reached out to Taiwanese company for help. BOE is seeking to collaborate on AMOLED R&D, and if the reports are true they probably contacted either AU Optronics or Innolux or both.

BOE Ordos 5.5-Gen AMOLED fab brochureBOE Ordos 5.5-Gen AMOLED fab

According to reprots, BOE started construction of their 5.5-Gen AMOLED fab in Ordos (Inner Mongolia) which will produce 54K substrates a month. According to some earlier reports, the fab cost is estimated at $3.44 billion. BOE's plan is apparently to first start with LTPS LCD and only in 2014 start producing AMOLED panels as well. BOE is also developing OLED ink-jet printing processes.

DisplayBank sees 72 million OLED TVs sold in 2020

DisplayBank says that they expect the OLED TV market to grow to 72 million units in 2020 - and command 64% of the 45" and larger global TV market. DisplayBank says that they expect the production cost of OLED TVs falling quickly which will greatly enhance the market competitiveness.

The OLED TV market will start slowly, and it's anyone's guess how fast (if at all) it'll grow. LG themselves estimate that the OLED TV market in 2013 will be very small, but they expect it to grow to 600,000 - 700,000 units in 2014 and 3 million units in 2015 (about 1% of the TV market). DisplaySearch is more optimistic than LG, saying that the OLED TV market in 2014 will reach almost 2 million units, and in 2015 it will reach almost 5 million units.

PIOL announces new OLED panels, sees 100 lm/W panels in 2015

Panasonic Idemitsu OLED Lighting (PIOL) unveiled new OLED lighting panels and also revealed the company's roadmap till 2018. The company currently produces 100x100 mm panels, and they are now showing new 150x50 mm and 200x50 mm panels that will be released in the spring of 2013.

PIOL OLED panels

The new panels will offer the same performance as PIOL's current panels: 10,000 lifetime (LT70), 30 lm/W and color temperatures of 3000K, 4000K and 5000K. PIOL confirmed that the only difference to the current panels is the shape. PIOL's panels have a high CRI (over 90) and they mostly target museums and exhibitions (some of the panels have already been used in at least two museums: Kyoto's MOMAK museum and Panasonic's own Shiodome museum).

Samsung produced over 300 million AMOLED panels since 2007

Samsung Display announced that they have produced 300 million AMOLED panels since mass production started in January 2007. Samsung production rate is accelerating: it took them 53 months to produce the first 100 million panels, 11 months to produce the next 100 million and only 7 months to produce another 100 million.

Remember that the OLED capacity has increased faster than that because the average AMOLED panel size is increasing all the time. The current production rate is about 470,000 OLED panels a day.

LG Display to go ahead with an ambitious OLED TV plan?

A couple of weeks ago we reported that LG Display will make a final decision on its OLED TV panel production capacity investment by early February. According to KoreaTimes, LGD has decided to go ahead with an ambitious plan (an "all-out effort") to dominate the OLED TV market. This new report correlates with earlier KoreaTimes reports.

LGD's 2013 investment will be 3.8 trillion won ($3.6 billion USD), and most of it will be used to increase LG's OLED TV capacity and improve the technology, followed by investments into Flexible OLEDs and Oxide-TFT LCDs. The investment amount is about the same as in 2012, but this time the focus is different.

Will Samsung use diamond or hexagonal sub pixels in their new AMOLEDs?

According to Digitimes, Samsung's upcoming "next-gen" AMOLED panels will use a new pixel layout. Reportedly, Samsung are developing hexagon and diamond shaped pixels. This means that Samsung will increase the resolution but the picture will suffer due to jagged pixel artifacts and blurring. It's probably that at such high pixel density this won't actually be noticed, but still.

In the Galaxy Note II Samsung introduced a new sub-pixel scheme, an RGB matrix in which the blue subpixel is twice as large as the red and green ones - which achieved 267 PPI. Obviously the new 4.99" Full-HD displays have a much higher PPI (440). I assumed Samsung will use the same PenTile arrangement used in most of their AMOLED displays.

Kyulux - Hyperfluoresence OLED emittersKyulux - Hyperfluoresence OLED emitters