OLED is an emerging display technology that enables beautiful and efficient displays and lighting panels. OLEDs are already being used in many mobile devices and TVs, and the next generation of these panels will be flexible and bendable.

Different kinds of flexibility

When we talk about flexible OLEDs, it's important to understand what that means exactly. A flexible OLED is based on a flexible substrate which can be either plastic, metal or flexible glass. The plastic and metal panels will be light, thin and very durable - in fact they will be virtually shatter-proof.

The first range of devices that use flexible OLED displays are not really flexible from the user perspective. The device maker bends the displays, or curves it - but the final user is not able to actually bend the device. Besides the beautiful designs, a flexible OLED has several advantages especially in mobile devices - the displays are lighter, thinner and more durable compared to glass based displays.

Second generation flexible OLED devices may indeed be flexible to the final user. Finally, when the technology is ready, we may see OLED panels that you can fold, bend or stretch. This may create all sorts of exciting designs that will enable large displays to be placed in a mobile device and only be opened when required.



Flexible OLED products

In October 2013, following many years of development and prototype demonstrations, both Samsung and LG Display finally started producing flexible AMOLED displays on plastic (polyimide) substrates. Both Korean companies are now mass producing such displays, which are being used in mobile phones and wearable devices - such as the Galaxy S7 Edge (shown below), the LG G Flex 2 and Apple's Watch.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge at MWC photo

Samsung Display is currently producing flexible OLEDs in two production lines, the 5.5-Gen A2 and the and the newer A3 6-Gen A3. Samsung is producing around 9 million flexible OLEDs per month - to satisfy demand for its mobile phones and wearables - and Samsung is working on expanding its capacity as demand soars and as Apple ordered around 100 million flexible OLED panels for its future iPhones.

LG Display currently produces plastic-based OLEDs in its Gen-4.5 fab, and is investing $900 million to build new production lines as it also aims to become a major flexible AMOLED producer.

Flexible OLED lighting

OLEDs can also be used to make white lighting panels. OLED is a diffuse area lighting source with unique characteristics. While OLED lighting is still in its infancy, many believe that flexible OLED lighting panels may provide designers with a new lighting source that will create stunning designs. Currently there are two companies that produce flexible OLED lighting - LG Display who is also constructing the world's first Gen-5 OLED lighting mass production line and Konica Minolta who's also developing an amibitious flexible OLED lighting fab.

Flexible OLEDs Market Report

If you want to fully understand the flexible OLED display and lighting markets, check out our Flexible OLED Market Report. This comprehensive report explains:

  • Why flexible displays and lighting panels are so exciting
  • What kind of flexible displays are currently on the market
  • What the future holds for flexible OLEDs
  • How to acquire flexible OLEDs for your products

The report package also provides a complete list of flexible OLED developers and makers and their current (and future) products, and a lot more. Read more here!

Latest Flexible OLED news

LG orders two 6-Gen flexible OLED deposition systems from Canon Tokki

Jun 23, 2017

Japan-based Canon Tokki is considered the world's leader in vacuum evaporation equipment, and the company has a large backlog - reportedly it had to decline orders from several OLED makers as all of its capacity was taken up mostly by Samsung Display and BOE.

LG 6'' flexible OLED edge phone prototype photo

The Korea Herald reports that LG Display has now managed to order two 6-Gen deposition systems from Canon Tokki. The price of each system is around $115 million, and it can support up to 15,000 monthly substrates. The first machine will be delivered in December 2017 and the second in February 2018.

Yeolight developed a 0.1 mm flexible OLED lighting panel for automotive applications

Jun 23, 2017

Yeolight Technology (which was spun-off Visionox in May 2015) developed a 0.1 mm flexible OLED panel. This is a red OLED panel that is specifically designed for automotive applications.

The light emitting area is 13 cm2 and the whole panel weighs just 1 gram. Yeolight says that the panel uniformity is over 90%. The panel uses a "special organic polymer" and Yeolight developed and used new materials, package structure and processes in order to improve the lifetime and durability of its new panel.

Graphene for Displays and Lighting Market Report

Pioneer demonstrates new automotive OLED lighting prototypes at CES Asia 2017

Jun 22, 2017

Pioneer demonstrated new automotive OLED prototype applications at CES Asia 2017. First up are these beautiful OLED taillight prortotypes, which use flexible OLEDs that are bent to create these 3D shapes.

Pioneer flexible OLED taillight prototype (CES Asia 2017)

Pioneer also demonstrated an updated version of its transparent brake light system, which was first unveiled in January 2016. The idea is that the brake light can be embedded in the back window of the car to create a beautiful design that is safer as it enlarges the back field of view compared to current brake lights.

LGD developed a 77" flexible and transparent OLED display

Jun 22, 2017

LG Display announced that it has developed a 77" flexible and transparent OLED display. The display features a resolution of 4K/UHD (3840 x 2160), a 80 mm radius of curvature and 40% transparency.

LG 77'' flexible and transparent OLED smart desk

LG Display demonstrated two possible applications for this display - above you can see the "smart desk" demonstration, and below you can see a commercial retail demonstration. It is not clear from the press release, but it seems that LGD plans to commercialize such a display in the future.

LGD confirms that its P10 plant in Paju will be exclusively used to make OLED displays

Jun 22, 2017

Towards the end of 2015 LG Display announced that it plans to build a new OLED fab (P10) in Paju in a $8.7 billion investment to produce both mid-sized flexible OLED and large-sized OLED TV panels. In May 2017 it was reported that LG decided to produce LCD panels rather than OLED panels in its upcoming fab.

LG Display P10 construction photo

According to Business Korea, LGD has confirmed that the P10 plant will indeed be used to produce only OLED displays - and will vote on this decision next week. The P10 fab will be used to make OLED TV panels in addition to small and medium sized flexible OLEDs. LGD has yet to decide exactly how to split the production capacity between large-area and small-area displays.

Samsung Display to start construction of its $7 billion A4 flexible OLED line

Jun 16, 2017

In April Korean press ran stories that Samsung has started construction of its A4 flexible OLED fab, which was later denied by Samsung. The Korea Economic Daily now states that Samsung is now ready to start construction, which was confirmed apparently by the Asan city government which is expected to approve the plans by July.

Samsung's A4 line will be, according to the report, another 6-Gen fab, similar to its A3 fab which is already in mass production. The A4 will have a monthly capacity of 60,000 substrates (other reports suggest that full capacity will be 135,000 substrates - similar to the A3 line). The A4 is expected to start mass producing panels in 2019. Total cost for this fab is estimated at $7 billion to $11.5 billion.

CSOT starts constructing its 6-Gen flexible AMOLED fab in Wuhan

Jun 14, 2017

In April 2017 it was reported that TCL-subsidiary China Star Optoelectronics Technology (CSoT) decided to construct a 6-Gen LTPS flexible AMOLED production line in Wuhan, China, in a $5.08 billion investment. Yesterday the company officially started the construction of the new display fab.

CSOT 6-Gen AMOLED fab, Wuhan, China, construction begins

The new production fab is expected to begin production in Q2 2019, with full mass production achieved by Q1 2020. The fab's capacity will be 45,000 substrates per month, which will be used to make small and medium-sized flexible and foldable OLEDs.

ETNews: SDC to start producing flexible OLEDs for Apple within a few weeks

Jun 07, 2017

ETNews reports that Samsung Display is expected to initiate flexible OLED production for Apple's first OLED iPhone later this month. Apple recently approved the prototype panels, and Samsung is getting ready to increase its production rate.

SDC will ship over 10 million flexible OLEDs to Apple every month, as Apple ordered over 80 million OLEDs for 2017 alone. According to ETNews, Apple will not bend the flexible OLED - the iPhone's display will be flat.

EverDisplay demonstrates new flexible and VR AMOLED prototypes

Jun 07, 2017

China-based EverDisplay demonstrated several new AMOLED prototype displays at CES Asia 2017. First up are the company's latest flexible OLEDs which are 5.5" in size with a FHD (1920x1080, 402 PPI) resolution and a curvature radius of 20 mm. The whole panel si just 0.3 mm in thickness.

Everdisplay 5.5'' flexible OLED prototypes (CES Asia 2017)

EverDisplay is also showing the same panels in an edge-type mobile phone configuration. Everdisplay shows how its displays can be used to create phones that are almost completely (91%) covered with a display.

AUO demonstrates several new OLED technologies at SID 2017

May 31, 2017

AUO demonstrates several OLED panels and technologies at SID 2017, and the excellent video below walks through these displays with lot's of details.

First up is AUO's foldable 5" 1280x720 (295 PPI) high color gamut (95% BT.2020) display announced last month. JJ Lih, AUO's R&D manager, says that the company expects to have this display in mass production within 2 years. The panel is only 1 mm thick and the bending (folding) radius is 4 mm.

The 2nd International TADF workshop, July 2017, Kyushu, JapanThe 2nd International TADF workshop, July 2017, Kyushu, Japan