Article last updated on: Feb 18, 2018

OLED displays use organic materials that emit light when electricity is applied. OLEDs enable emissive, bright, thin, flexible and efficient displays. OLEDs are set to replace LCDs in all display applications - from small displays to large TV sets.

PMOLED: Passive Matrix OLED

PMOLED stands for Passive-Matrix OLED, which relates to the way you control (or drive) the display. A PMOLED display uses a simple control scheme in which you control each row (or line) in the display sequentially (one at a time). PMOLED electronics do not contain a storage capacitor and so the pixels in each line are actually off most of the time. To compensate for this you need to use more voltage to make them brighter. If you have 10 lines, for example, you have to make the one line that is on 10 times as bright (the real number is less then 10, but that's the general idea).

A PMOLED panel by UnivisionA PMOLED panel by Univision

So while PMOLEDs are easy (and cheap) to fabricate, they are not efficient and the OLED materials suffer from lower lifetime (due to the high voltage needed). PMOLED displays are also restricted in resolution and size (the more lines you have, the more voltage you have to use). PMOLED displays are usually small (up to 3" typically) and are used to display character data or small icons: they are being used in wearable devices, small gadgets and sub displays

PMOLED vs AMOLED

The other kind of OLED display is called an AMOLED (or Active-Matrix OLED). An AMOLED uses a TFT that contains a storage capacitor which maintains the line pixels lit all the time (even though just one line is changed each time). AMOLEDs consume less power than PMOLEDs, have faster refresh rates and allows to build larger display with higher resolutions. AMOLEDs are also more complicated and expensive to fabricate.

Samsung GS6 and GS6 Edge photo



AMOLEDs today are being used as displays for smartphones, digital cameras - and even OLED TVs.

Flexible and transparent PMOLEDs

Some small and simple flexible (conformable) PMOLED displays are already on the market. Japan's Futaba for example is producing several such displays, including a 1.4" 128x16 film PMOLED display adopted in several fitness bands from Garmin, HTC and others.

Transparent PMOLEDs are currently in development, with some segmented panels already on the market - but as of early 2018, no dot-matrix transparent PMOLEDs are available.

Looking for PMOLED suppliers?

Are you looking to adopt an PMOLED display for your device? Today there are several PMOLED producers (mostly in China and Taiwan), each making their own kinds of standard and custom PMOLED displays, with a total of dozens of different displays on the market.

The OLED Marketplace is our very own comprehensive OLED catalog, in which you can find most of the PMOLED displays on the market. Click here to browse our extensive catalog.

The PMOLED Market Report

If you want to fully understand the PMOLED market and industry, check out our PMOLED Market Report. This comprehensive report explains:

  • PMOLED production fabs
  • Next-generation PMOLED technologies
  • Flexible and transparent PMOLEDs
  • PMOLED for automotive applications

The report package also provides datasheets and product catalogs and a detailed list of PMOLED producers.

Further reading

Latest PMOLED news

A new OLED-Info market report covers the PMOLED market

We're happy to announce a new market report: the PMOLED Market Report. This report, brought to you by the world's leading OLED experts, is a comprehensive guide to passive matrix OLED displays (PMOLEDs). The PMOLED market is projected to grow rapidly, fueled by demand from wearables and by flexible and transparent displays, but is overlooked by most analysts focused on the (much larger) AMOLED market.

OLED for VR and AR market report cover

Reading this report, you'll learn all about:

  • Applications of PMOLED displays
  • Next generation PMOLED technologies
  • Flexible and transparent PMOLEDs
  • AMOLED vs PMOLED

The report also includes:

  • Information on all PMOLED producers
  • Current and future PMOLED fabs
  • Automotive PMOLEDs
  • Display catalogs and datasheets
  • Free updates for a year

Pioneer demonstrates curved transparent PMOLEDs for AR applications

During Tokyo's Wearable Expo, Pioneer introduced new PMOLED displays and devices. One of the devices on display seems to be an AR glasses concept that adopts a curved transparent PMOLED:

Pioneer curved transparent OLED for AR (Wearable Expo Japan 2018)

We don't have more information on Pioneer's new PMOLED besides what you can see in the image above. Pioneer announced it has developed flexible monochrome PMOLED panels back in 2013 (produced on ultra-thin glass) but did not commercialize such panels yet.

OLED Handbook

Wisechip to produce in-cell touch PMOLED displays by the end of 2017

Taiwan-based PMOLED developer Wisechip announced plans to start mass producing In-Cell Touch PMOLED displays in Q4 2017. Wisechip says that its 1-inch ICT PMOLED will be cheaper by about $1 compared to current touch PMOLEDs, and will also be thinner and lighter.

Wisechip In-Cell Touch AMOLED photo

An In-Cell Touch display has the touch layer embedded within the panel itself. There's no need to laminate a separate touch layer. Wisechip said that it developed an enhanced manufacturing process and new technologies that were required for the In-Cell layer addition.

Hyperkin to release an Xbox controller with a small PMOLED display

Hyperkin announced that Microsoft has approved its latest Xbox controller, which is a recreation of the original Xbox Duke controller. The new controller includes a monochrome (green) PMOLED display.

Hyperkin is still developing its controller so it is not clear when this will be released. The company also says that it will only produce the controller in a limited number.

Truly sees large demand for PMOLED displays, to dramatically increase capacity by next year

OLED maker Truly Semiconductor, based in Hong Kong, sees a large increase in PMOLED demand in the near future, and the company is executing an ambitious PMOLED capacity expansion plan.

Truly is currently operating two production lines: the P1 and P2 lines, both 2.5-Gen and with a monthly capacity of 625K and 1.25M pcs (Truly counts its capacity as per 1" displays). Truly has set out to build two new production lines. The P3 line which is a 2.5-Gen line with a capacity of 3.13 million 1” panels monthly is almost ready and will start mass production by the end of the month.

Wisechip explains the development effort behind its HF-TADF PMOLED

Last month PMOLED maker WiseChip demonstrated a Hyperfluoresence TADF PMOLED display in a trade show in Japan, following a collaboration with HF TADF developer Kyulux. Wisechip says it will bring its first HF-TADF PMOLEDs to the market by the end of 2017.

Kyulux today uploaded Wisechip's presentation from the TADF workshop. In this lecture Wisechip’s VP of R&D Engineering Division, Dr. York Tsai, gave a presentation that detailed the Hyperfluorescence-PMOLED development effort and the performance boost enabled by the new material.

How will the phosphorescent emitter market look in 2018, following UDC's basic material patent expiration?

The phosphorescent OLED emitter market is currently dominated by Universal Display who owns the basic patents to phosphorescent OLED emitters. All the major OLED makers (including Samsung and LGD) are using UDC's materials in order to achieve higher display efficiencies, beyond what is available from fluorescent emitters.

Universal Display holds over 4,000 issued and pending patents, but some of its basic phosphorescent patents are set to expire by the end of 2017. Honestly, it is very difficult to know exactly what effect this will have on the market - some analysts believe that it will carry very little effect while others say that this will open the door for other companies to sell competing phosphorescent emitters.

Wisechip shows its latest PMOLEDs at the TADF Workshop in Japan

Wisechip, the Taiwan-based PMOLED maker, demonstrated its latest display panels and prototypes at the TADF Workshop last week in Fukuoka, Japan. This was an impressive display and a great chance to experience the latest PMOLEDs displays from Wisechip.

So first up we have the company's transparent PMOLED. This is a 4.1" (106x37.9 mm) segmented T-OLED specifically aimed for automotive HUD applications. The display has 4 colors (red, orange, green and blue) and offers a typical brightness of 800 nits (max is 1,500 nits). According to Wisechip the display will soon hit the market for a specific automotive partner.

Wisechip to commercialize Hyperfluorescence TADF PMOLEDs by year's end

Hyperfluoresence TADF materials developer Kyulux announced a collaboration with PMOLED maker WiseChip to bring Hyperfluoresence TADF emitter based displays to the market by year's end. Wisechip demonstrated an HF TADF display at the TADF Workshop last week in Fukuoka, Japan.

Wisechip Hyperfluoresence TADF emitters demonstration (TADF Workshop 2017)

The PMOLED display shown by Wisechip was a 0.96" monochrome yellow 128x64 one. The demonstration showed how much brighter (or more efficient) the Hyperfluoresence based display is compared to Wisechip's current fluoresent-based displays. The power saving is almost 50%.

RitDisplay increases its PMOLED capacity, revenues up 30% in 2016

In August 2016 we reported that PMOLED-producer RiTdisplay sees growth ahead in the PMOLED market with plans to increase capacity - and today Digitimes states that RiTdisplay has indeed increased its capacity by 20% in 2016 (to 18,000 monthly substrates, up from 15,000). The company aims to increase production by a further 40% (to 25,200 monthly substrates) by the end of 2017.

Earlier reports suggested that the capacity increase will come from more efficient production ("deleting bottlenecks") - not from new equipment.